There are only two elected officials left standing in the musical chairs among those publicly tied to the state’s massive political corruption scandal: current U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens (R) and his son, former State Sen. Ben Stevens (R).
The indictment of Alaska State Sen. John Cowdery (R) last Thursday, means all of the state legislators whose offices were raided in August of 2006 (except Stevens) — Cowdery, Vic Kohring (R), Bruce Weyhrauch (R), Pete Kott (R) and Don Olson (D) — are now either cooperating with federal investigations, convicted or indicted. The FBI warrant allowing the search named former VECO executives Bill Allen and Rick Smith.
Allen and Smith were indicted and pleaded guilty. Their testimony at the trials of Kott, Kohring and Weyhrauch helped convict the three indicted state representatives. While Kott and Weyhrauch’s convictions are pending appeal, Kohring recently began his 3.5 year prison sentence. Cowdery’s recent indictment on two counts of bribery and conspiracy named an anonymous “Senator A” who was later revealed by Cowdery’s lawyer as Olson. Olson followed with a statement that he has been cooperating with the U.S. attorney’s office for over a year, and is unlikely to be indicted.
That leaves just the Stevens boys without a fall out. Both are under federal investigation for their ties to VECO, but the investigation of Uncle Ted also stretches to his suspicious pet projects.
As one juror at Kohring’s trial observed after his conviction, “they didn’t get the sharks. They got the minnow.” Cowdery appears to be the last of the “minnows,” but does that mean federal prosecutors will be going after bigger game in the near future?
And don’t forget the other big fish: Seemingly more tenuous, but still present is the ongoing federal investigation into U.S. Rep. Don Young (R), for his own ties to VECO.