Veco Corp., the oil company at the center of a bribery scandal involving at least five lawmakers has spent the last three decades establishing itself as a force in Alaska politics.
Some 2,000 Alaskans work for the company that cleaned up after the Exxon-Valdez catastrophe and controls a conservative opinion arm of the Anchorage Daily News.
And, for lawmakers at the state and federal level, Veco is a major source of campaign financing. Two Veco heads, Bill J. Allen and Richard L. Smith, pled guilty yesterday to bribery charges for paying lawmakers for votes, including the former Alaska Senate President Ben Stevens, son of Sen. Ted Stevens. According to the plea agreement, Veco paid Ben Stevens about $240,000 in consulting fees that were actually in exchange for political favors. Stevens' lawyer said his client is not guilty of any wrongdoing.
Since 1993, Veco says it has completed about $25 billion worth of projects involving oil refining, pipeline work and power production. Recently, it created a separate corporate entity to handle federal contracting , to meet âthe recent growth in the market.â
Veco prides itself on honesty, which the company lists as its second priority behind safety, and just before being a âgood corporate citizenâ â they are, after all, engaged in the political process.