Thursday, September 07, 2006

Richard Pombo Tied To Alaskan Oil, Influence Peddling Scandal

The Record: Probed oil firm linked to Pombo - It gave thousands to congressman (source)

"An Alaskan oil services company under federal investigation in connection with allegations of influence peddling has contributed nearly $18,000 to Rep. Richard Pombo of Tracy, a Record analysis of federal campaign finance records shows.

The investigation sparked a Washington state candidate for the U.S. Senate to return his contributions from Anchorage-based VECO Corp. the day after the FBI raided offices of several Alaskan state legislators last week.

Pombo's spokesman Carl Fogliani said they are keeping the cash for now." (source)

More from Hank Shaw at The Record.

California Chronicle: Oil Slick of Corruption Spreads South (source)

"The FBI brought in agents from all over the country, including Sacramento, to raid the offices of six Alaska legislators last week. They were looking for illegal dealings with an Alaska-based oil firm VECO that has long been a top Republican donor. But the money trail doesn't stop in Alaska.


...A month before the House Resources Committee, of which Pombo is chair, added a provision to open ANWR to a budget reconciliation bill, Rep. Pombo took almost the same amount from Alaskan donors for his political action committee-40% of which came from VECO executives.

VECO has made no secret of what it hopes to gain from their donations. "VECO is ready to assist efforts in every way possible to make new mega projects happen - specifically, an Alaskan gas pipeline and the opening of ANWR," the company said in a 2003 newsletter. In an October 2004 newsletter to VECO employees, executives wrote, "The right people in the White House, the U.S. Capitol and the Alaska State Legislature make a huge impact on oil and gas resource development and on the economy of Alaska." They cited opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling as one of their top priorities. "We try to get those people elected," VECO President Pete Leathard told Alexander's Gas and Oil Connections, an online newsletter covering the oil industry. "We put a lot of money into the effort," Leathard said.


Democratic congressional candidate Jerry McNerney, who is challenging Pombo for his seat stated, "I think all these questions underscore the need for stronger ethics rules in Congress, and reform of our campaign finance laws. A first start in that effort would be for Congressman Pombo to return the money that he received from VECO. It seems like every week there's some new scandal or rumor coming to light about Congressman Pombo's behavior. If we want people to believe in their government, we need a new direction in Congress. The people in the 11th district and the country expect and deserve the highest ethical behavior. They can expect that from me."" (source)

More from The California Chronicle


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