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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Oil companies bought Alaska legislature back

By Ray Metcalfe


March 29, 2017
Wednesday PM

In 2004 I speculated in an ADN op-ed that several members of both houses of our legislature were taking bribes from oil companies with Bill Allen and VECO acting as their surrogate. While I only had a smattering of hard evidence, my real confidence in risking that the most powerful people in Alaska would not sue me for saying it stemmed from my confidence that bribery was the only logical reason any legislator would pretend to believe that profits to the big three producers needed to be increased at our expense or they would leave. Over and over I had documented that oil company profits in Alaska dwarfed oil company profits in other parts of the world. Over and over I documented that other countries kept a much larger share of the profits than we were keeping. Over and over seated legislators would pretend to believe and act on oil company rhetoric that I knew that they knew had to be false.

As the FBI proved two years later, they believed it because they were paid to believe it. Six legislators went to jail, the tax structure changed and we Alaskans saw a profit share increase of about four billion a year. We spent about half and saved about half. It is the savings you hear about that we are spending down today. Savings that would have gone to the stockholders of BP, Conoco, and Exxon, had VECO not been busted.

It took six years for the oil companies to buy our legislature back. New oil tax breaks were passed and today Alaska's big three oil companies are producing oil in other countries for refund of cost plus one to two dollars per barrel. Last quarter in Alaska, they made 100% of costs plus over $17 per barrel on their Alaska production. Put this information in front of the leaders of the Alaska State Senate and they will pretend they don't understand and look at you as though you were from Mars. Then they will once again vote to give away our profits and pay oil companies to haul our oil away.

I can think of only one rational reason an otherwise apparently sane person would do that. Bribery.

Ray Metcalfe
Anchorage , Alaska


About: Ray Metcalfe is a former member of the Alaska Legislature, and was the Whistle Blower helped the FBI put six State Legislators behind bars for accepting bribes from VECO owner Bill Allen in exchange for their vote to give Alaska's oil away for a fraction of it's value, just like several legislators are doing again today. Metcalfe was Alaska's Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2016. He is longtime political activist

Received March 29, 2017 - Published March 29, 2017


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