Attached is the letter Ray Metcalfe sent to Frank Murkowski's Attorney General David W. Márquez accusing him and the Murkowski administration of engaging in cover-ups, and attempting to commit this state’s most valuable resources to bargain basement sales agreements using a State Senate President who they are fully aware is accepting bribes to advocate the position of oil interests before our State Legislature.
Ray Metcalfe (907) 344-4514
Post Office Box 233809 E-mail Rayinak@aol.com
Anchorage AK 99523
March 25, 2006
Attention: Attorney General David W. Márquez:
P.O. Box 110300
Juneau, AK 99811-0300
Tel: (907) 465-2133
Fax: (907) 465-2075 email: Attorney_General@law.state.ak.us
Regarding: Your Advice to APOC Staff, Ben Stevens & Bribery.
Dear Attorney General Márquez:
I recently confronted the staff at the Alaska Public Office Commission, (APOC) regarding their prolonged failure to reply to several complaints I filed concerning Ben Stevens’ refusals to comply with disclosure reporting requirements.
On inquiry, APOC staff verbally advised me that your office has ordered them not to investigate my complaint and not to provide me with any written answer explaining why they are neither answering nor investigating my complaint. Your instructions are in violation of 2 AAC 50.810 and of the Administrative Procedures Act, which requires administrative agencies to be independent decision-makers.
Following my inquiry, APOC staff also refused to provide me with an explanation of their refusal. That also is a violation of 2 AAC 50.810.
Verbally, APOC staff explained that they have been instructed by your office to invoke "Legislative Immunity" on Ben Stevens’ behalf. The only written document provided to me by APOC was a copy of a 1986 AG’s opinion that bore little relevance to the situation of Ben Stevens.
There are three additional things that are glaringly wrong with such reasoning:
1. Nearly all of the questions raised in my complaints were presented to APOC at or before the December 1, 2005 APOC meeting, well before the Legislature was in session. It was APOC who refused to respond to questions presented and pushed hearing the issues from the December 1, 2005 calendar, into a meeting scheduled for the midst of the legislative session. Once the legislative session began, the new excuse for no response became APOC’s assertion of legislative immunity on Ben Stevens’ behalf.
2. It seems highly implausible that Ben Stevens can claim legislative immunity to avoid responding to a well-documented accusation of concealing reportable financial information when Alaska’s Supreme Court has ruled that seated senators who refuse to provide a complete Legislative Financial Disclosure Statement are subject to removal from office. (See Grimm v. Wagoner, 77 P3d 423) It would not be possible to carry out the Court’s order if one could claim immunity from such an order.
3. APOC has been deceitful by leading me to believe my complaints were being dealt with in the normal course of business, while in fact, at your direction, APOC had strategized to delay consideration of my complaints to the end of Ben Stevens' term of office. Effectively, at your direction, APOC’s methods of unannounced unwritten unilateral invocation of legislative immunity on Ben Stevens behalf has denied us the opportunity to timely challenge whether legislative immunity applies and whether Ben Stevens is allowed to serve out the remainder of his term.
History of events:
1. On July 14, 2005, I tendered a complaint to APOC arguing that Ben Stevens’ required reports to APOC were incomplete. On August 19, APOC staff disagreed and advised me that if I wished to appeal, I needed to do so by September 15, 2005.
2. I began preparation of an appeal but failed to complete it in time to meet the September 15 deadline. On November 17, 2005, I tendered what I had prepared as a second complaint, elaborating why I believed Ben Stevens’ report was incomplete.
3. On delivery, APOC staff verbally advised me that my second complaint had been received too late for consideration at the December 2005 meeting of the Commissioners and would be scheduled for a hearing then being planned for around the end of February 2006. Also at that time, contrary to APOC’s prior written advise, APOC staff verbally advised me that my first complaint was still ripe for appeal.
4. Responding to this new advice, I appealed the first complaint, adding additional reasoning explaining why I believed Ben Stevens’ report to APOC was incomplete. Most of the additional information added to the appeal was gleaned from what I had delivered to APOC as the second complaint, which APOC was refusing to hear at the December 1, 2005 meeting.
5. At the December 1, 2005 meeting, although staff provided the Commissioners with copies of my points of appeal, the only argument staff had prepared responses to and/or raised for discussion at the December 1, 2005 meeting was an argument contained in my first complaint before the points of appeal were added. (Staff’s failure to respond was a violation of 2 AAC 50.810.)
6. On two occasions, I confronted APOC staff about their non-response to my points of appeal, and each time I received a different verbal answer. First; Not to worry, most of the questions raised in my points of appeal were also contained in my second complaint and it would be heard at the next quarterly meeting. Second; Copies of my points of appeal were delivered to the Commissioners in the packet APOC staff provided to them. Therefore, according to APOC staff, the Commissioners had chosen not to respond, and by choosing not to respond, the Commission had in effect, dismissed all of my points of appeal. (It was staff who omitted my points of appeal from the agenda.)
7. On or about February 17, 2006, as the date for the next quarterly meeting drew near, (Scheduled for February 28 through March 1 of 2006), I stopped in at APOC’s Anchorage office to inquire why staff had not responded to my complaint filed November 17, 2005 or my complaint filed December 12, 2005, as required by 2 AAC 50.810. I also asked what the schedule was for the Commission to hear my complaints. That was when APOC staff advised me that they had taken the position that they were barred by legislative immunity from disturbing Ben Stevens with a request to respond to my complaints. Using that reasoning, they claimed they could not respond to my complaints and therefore they had neither opened an investigation nor scheduled a hearing or prepared a response to my complaints. APOC staff then made it clear that they were following orders from your office, and they had no intention of processing my complaints until after the conclusion of the 2006 legislative session.
Copies of my complaints were also delivered to the Anchorage offices of the Alaska AG, the DA's office, and the Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals, (OSPA).
In addition to those portions of the aforementioned complaints asserting that Ben Stevens had knowingly and willingly violated Alaska’s reporting requirements, the complaints delivered to the AG, the DA and OSPA also asserted, and provided corroborating evidence, that Ben Stevens had solicited and accepted bribes that were paid in exchange for doing the bidding of Alaska’s oil industry under the direction of Alaska’s largest oilfield service company, VECO. Also delivered was more than one source of sworn testimony providing evidence that Ben Stevens is actively engaged in laundering federal money into his own pocket through the fishing industry.
The corroborating information I delivered included names, phone numbers, affidavits and letters from a variety of people, some of whom have quietly intimated to me a willingness to provide your office with testimony corroborating Ben Stevens’ involvement in subjects of money laundering, plans for delivery of clandestine “off the books” payments, and bribery.
Four months have gone by, and not one of the people who have offered to provide information to your investigators has received so much as a phone call from a single state investigator. This leads me to suspect you have provided Alaska’s law enforcement officials with the same kind of “hands-off” instructions that APOC staff says you delivered to them.
All the above brings me to the primary point of this letter and reasoning for its urgency. At this time, you and the Governor are attempting to bind future Legislatures to a tax rate that, according to the consultants that just finished advising the legislature, is about half the rate of the world average rate of taxation on oil.
You and the Governor are attempting, by way of a legislatively approved contract, to bar future Legislatures from curing this deficiency should it happen, and you are relying on a Senate President, who appears to be accepting bribes from Alaska’s oil industry, to shepherd favors to oil companies through the Legislature.
AS: 24.60.100 states: A legislator or legislative employee may not represent another person for compensation before an agency, committee, or other entity of the legislative branch and AS: 11.56.110 defines it as receiving a bribe if he does. Ben Stevens has been paid over a quarter million dollars by VECO, and the only apparent “consulting” Ben Stevens appears to have done has been his advocacy of legislation for VECO, favoring oil company interests.
You appear to have exempted Ben Stevens from the rule of law and Ben’s exemption could lead to the Legislature’s consummation of a transaction that involves the forfeiture of tens of billions of dollars and if passed, and could easily affect Alaska for the remainder of this century.
I will not stand quietly by while you and the Governor abandon the rule of law, engage in cover-ups, and attempt to commit this state’s most valuable resources to bargain basement sales agreements using a State Senate President who appears to be accepting bribes to advocate the position of oil interests before our State Legislature.
Ben Stevens re-demonstrated his allegiance to VECO as recently as March 24, 2006, in the Senate Resources Committee, as he attempted to lower the already ridiculously low proposed tax rate from a proposed 25% to 20 %. (A proposed gift to Ben’s oil company clients of over a billion dollars per year.)
I believe the above scenario warrants either the appointment of a special prosecutor now, or the expedited consideration of the Courts. I believe that Ben Stevens has been bribed to invade the Permanent Fund dividend program, with the hope it will relieve political pressure for Alaskans to get their fair share from Alaska’s oil revenues. I believe he has been bribed to send Alaska’s gas through Canada rather than the “All Alaska Gas Line” we Alaskans voted for. And I believe he has been bribed to lower Alaska’s taxes on oil whenever and wherever he is able, for his clients.
For these reasons, in the absence of a satisfactory explanation from you, I am preparing to sue you and APOC, to ask for Ben Stevens’ removal from the Senate and a preliminary injunction to halt Ben Stevens’ hand in the process until the question of his bribery has been answered.
Please contact me if you have any questions.
Attorney General David W. Márquez response to Ray Metcalfe's letter accusing him and the Murkowski administration of engaging in cover-ups, and attempting to commit this state’s most valuable resources to bargain basement sales agreements using a State Senate President who they are fully aware is accepting bribes to advocate the position of oil interests before our State Legislature.
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