07 May 2007

Official Information Needed

When you take a look through the indictments in the VECO investigation, one thing that becomes immediately clear is that the federal government has done their homework before bringing these charges. Clearly, they had some sort of recording device in Suite 604 and potentially even some one, given that there are parts of the indictment that refer to the actions of people (i.e. "he pointed").

What's also interesting about this investigation is how few leaks there have been from it. Before the August raids, it wasn't really on the radar screen. Since then there may have been gossip and rumor swirling among people who are well-connected but nothing that's really made it into state media sources. Based on the indictments, I know there are two people from the U.S. Attorney's Office and a couple of people from the Public Integrity Division leading this investigation but I don't know who they are or what their methods have been.

So what I think is needed is for these federal officials - who are apparently quite good at their jobs - to hold a press conference and tell us a bit about this investigation. In particular, I'd like to know the answers to the following questions:

  • How long has this investigation been going on? In particular, was bribery and extortion by VECO executives under investigation before the 2nd session of the 24th legislature or did an investigation of the corrupt activity of lawmakers in the 24th legislature lead to VECO executives?
  • To the extent allowed without compromising anyone unnecesarily, what were the methods of investigation used that lead to these indictments?
  • How does the alleged behavior in Alaska compare to other investigations conducted by the Public Integrity folks?
  • I doubt this question would be answered but it would of course be nice to know how many other people are under investigation.
There is precedent for a press conference like this. Think of Patrick Fitzgerald, who also ran a leak-free investigation of a sensitive matter. When he finally got an indictment against Scooter Libby, he held a press conference and answered a lot of questions about the case.

These charges go right to the heart of Alaska state politics and it's only fair that Alaskans be able to learn as much as possible about the investigation.

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