Ex-Alaska Speaker Gets 6 Years For Bribes

Former Alaska state House Speaker Pete Kott, walks from an elevator in the federal court building in Anchorage, Alaska, Monday Sept. 10, 2007 during a break from opening arguments in his corruption trial. Kott is accused of taking bribes and conspiring with executives of oil field services company Veco Corp. (AP Photo/Al Grillo)[Click image for details ]
AP Photo/Al Grillo
The former leader of the Alaska House of Representatives was sentenced to six years in a federal prison Friday for accepting $9,000 in bribes from the founder of an oil field services company.

The case against Pete Kott wide implications because the FBI is investigating whether Ted Stevens, the U.S. Senate's longest-serving Republican, received illegal gifts from the head of the company, VECO Corp. Stevens has not been charged and has denied wrongdoing.

Kott was convicted in September of bribery, extortion and conspiracy and acquitted of wire fraud. Besides the cash, federal prosecutors said the Republican former Speaker of the House accepted a political poll paid on his behalf by VECO and that he received the promise of a job with the company after he left the Alaska Legislature.

A key witness in Kott's trial was VECO founder and former CEO Bill Allen, who along with a company vice president, Rick Smith, has pleaded guilty to bribing Kott and other lawmakers.

Kott's two-week trial included testimony by Allen that he doled out more than $400,000 in bribes to various officials and had company workers remodel the home of Stevens. Stevens has said he paid all bills he received for the remodeling project.

VECO stood to make millions in contracts if the state Legislature approved a revised crude oil tax that encouraged investment. The Legislature passed the tax, but has rewritten the law since Kott's conviction.
By Dan Joling