Press Release

Attorney General Issues Statement in Response to Governor's Letter Dated January 27, 2005

January 28, 2005

(Juneau) Attorney General Gregg Renkes today issued the following statement in response to a letter of reprimand he received from Governor Frank H. Murkowski, dated January 27, 2005:

I received a letter of reprimand from the Governor for failing to obtain an ethics advisory opinion when he asked me to assist his effort to interest Taiwan in the development of Alaska coal. Mr. Bundy's investigation and report concluded that I violated this procedural requirement of the ethics act. I accept this letter of reprimand.

I regret that I did not seek early ethics advice. If I had, it is now clear that it would have determined my activities in support of the Governor were consistent with the law. I did, in fact, recognize that I had a potential conflict and declined to sign the trade memorandum with the Taiwanese. That is where I drew the line. The Bundy report concludes I should have drawn the line earlier.

Clearly, earlier ethics advice could have gone a long way to avoiding the level of attention this matter received in the media. It would also have avoided my request for an independent investigation that ultimately concluded that I had neither violated the public trust or the code of ethics.

The Governor recognized that I voluntarily took action to address the public concern resulting from my failure to obtain the earliest possible ethics advice. I sold all of my KFx stock and donated all profits to charity even though the report concluded there was no conflict and that I did not benefit. I also put my investment account into a blind trust to avoid any future concern about my investments and my official duties. The report concluded, and the Governor recognized, my actions were not motivated by any intent to benefit myself, but rather were taken at the direction of the Governor in the best interests of Alaskans.

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