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Week of 8.1.08

Timeline: Alaska Corruption Scandal

Follow the events of Alaska's corruption scandal in the timeline below

January 2002:
Former State Senator Ben Stevens
Former State Senator Ben Stevens, son of U.S. Senator Ted Stevens
Then-Alaska Senate president Ben Stevens collects $243,250 from VECO from 2002 through August, 2007 for his consulting work for VECO founder and CEO Bill Allen.

January 8, 2006:
Eagle River Rep. Pete Kott allegedly calls Allen about the oil tax and natural gas pipeline legislation just as the state legislature is preparing to meet.

February 21, 2006:
Then-Gov. Frank Murkowski unveils a State bill to start taxing crude oil based on oil company profits rather than production levels.

February 23, 2006:
Wasilla Rep. Vic Kohring, who offered to help VECO, allegedly accepts $1,000 in cash from Allen.

February 28, 2006:
VECO and other oil companies lobby lawmakers to defeat a measure that would raise the tax rate on oil company profits to a higher level than the 20 percent Governor Murkowski proposes.

April 24, 2006:
Senate passes an oil-tax bill that would tax oil at a rate of 22.5 percent. VECO continues to press for a 20 percent rate.

May 7, 2006:
During House floor debate on oil taxation, Allen and VECO vice president and its chief lobbyist Rick Smith call Kott and tell him how to vote.

May 9, 2006:
Regular legislative session ends with no new oil tax. The Senate fails to concur with a House-approved 21.5 percent rate.

August 31, 2006:
Teams of federal agents execute search warrants in Anchorage, Juneau, Wasilla, Girdwood and Eagle River in a federal investigation involving allegations of illegal gifts to law makers from VECO. FBI agents search the offices of six Alaska lawmakers, including the offices of U.S. Senator Ted Steven's son, Ben Stevens.

September 1, 2006:
Federal agents execute more search warrants and seek out evidence that would show ties between VECO and state legislators, including clothing that is mockingly labeled "Corrupt Bastards Club."

September 18, 2006:
The FBI conducts a second search on the legislative office of Sen. Ben Stevens, seizing documents related to the proposed natural gas pipeline and the oil and gas tax law, among other items.

December 6, 2006:
Rep. Tom Anderson is indicted on charges of money laundering, extortion and bribery.

May 4, 2007:
Three former state legislators—Rep. Vic Kohring, Rep. Pete Kott of Eagle River and Rep. Bruce Weyhrauch of Juneau—plead Not Guilty to charges of extortion and taking bribes to support legislation benefiting VECO.

Former VECO CEO Bill Allen
Former VECO CEO Bill Allen
May 7, 2007:
Oil service executives, Allen and Smith, plead guilty to bribing Alaska lawmakers in exchange for favorable votes.

May 11, 2007:
Allen and Smith resign from the VECO Corporation.

May 2007:
VECO begins negotiations with Colorado-based CH2M HILL to acquire VECO.

May 16, 2007:
Bill Bobrick, a prominent municipal lobbyist in Anchorage, admits in federal court that he conspired to bribe former state Rep. Tom Anderson. He is later sentenced to five months in jail.

May 22, 2007:
The Anchorage Assembly votes unanimously to tighten city lobbying rules, banning anyone convicted of a felony from registering as a lobbyist.

U.S. Senator Ted Stevens
U.S. Senator Ted Stevens
May 25, 2007:
The Anchorage Daily News reports that the FBI and a federal grand jury are investigating an "extensive" remodeling project at Senator Ted Stevens' home in Girdwood, Alaska. Bob Persons, Ted Stevens' friend and neighbor, is ordered to appear before a grand jury in Washington. The government directs Persons to submit documents related to the work on Stevens' home in Girdwood, including contractors who were hired or supervised by VECO, the Anchorage Daily News reports.

July 9, 2007:
Anderson is convicted of conspiracy, bribery and other charges. He is later sentenced to five years in prison.

July 17, 2007:
Ted Stevens files his personal financial disclosure form and says every bill he and his wife received for renovations to their home was paid "with our own money."

July 24, 2007:
The Wall Street Journal reports that Rep. Don Young is under federal investigation for possibly taking bribes, illegal gratuities, or unreported gifts from VECO.

July 30, 2007:
The FBI executes a search warrant at Ted Stevens' Alaska home.

September 7, 2007:
Colorado-based CH2M Hill acquires scandal-ridden VECO.

Sept 25, 2007:
Kott is convicted of bribery, conspiracy and extortion. Later, he's sentenced to six years in prison.

November 1, 2007:
Former state Rep. Vic Kohring is convicted on three of four counts of corruption for selling influence to VECO executives. Those counts are bribery, conspiracy, and attempted extortion.

November 15, 2007:
The Anchorage Daily News reports the state Senate passed an oil tax bill on a 14-5 vote, increasing the tax rate from 22.5 to 25 percent of net profits.

November 19, 2007:
The Associated Press reports that Ted Stevens has repeatedly said he will not answer questions about the corruption probe because it would look as if he was trying to influence the investigation.

March 3, 2008:
Jim Clark, chief of staff to former Alaska Gov. Frank Murkowski, pleads guilty to accepting illegal campaign help from VECO.

July 10, 2008:
Alaska Sen. John Cowdery is charged with bribery and conspiracy in the VECO case nearly two years after the FBI raided his office.

July 29, 2008:
Stevens is indicted for failing to disclose thousands of dollars of gifts he received from VECO.

The timeline is compiled from Associated Press newswires and news reports in The Anchorage Daily News. You can find a complete overview of the events in the Alaska political investigations on The Anchorage Daily News Website.