PUBLISHED: 5:01 PM on Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Palin asks indicted senator to resign
Sen. Donny Olson says he began working with feds when investigation began in 2006
Editor's note: The following article first appeared last week at

Gov. Sarah Plain released a statement last week asking Sen. John Cowdery (R-Anchorage) to resign. Cowdery was indictment July 9 on two charges of conspiracy and bribery.

Cowdery's federal indictment marks the seventh Alaska politician to be charged during an ongoing FBI investigation into political corruption. He is being charged with conspiring with VECO Corp. executives to bribe another state senator to support oil and gas legislation.

"It was disturbing to learn that another public official has been charged with violating the public trust. I urge Senator Cowdery to step down, for the good of the state," Palin said.

Senator Donny Olson (D-Nome) acknowledged the following day that he is in fact the anonymous "Senator A" referenced in the federal indictment.

According to the Associated Press, Cowdery was in Juneau when the grand jury came to a decision. The AP reported that Cowdery had checked out of his hotel room earlier this morning and that his office at the Capitol was locked. Cowdery has not been arrested, his lawyer, Kevin Fitzgerald, told the AP.

"Today's news is a good reminder that we must continue to be vigilant in defending Alaska's sovereignty against those who would undermine it in an attempt to sell out Alaskans," Palin said. "As we move forward, let me remind everyone that this administration is committed to putting Alaskans and their interests first, as we develop our resources in a responsible and ethical manner."

Olson said he has been willingly cooperating with the FBI and the U.S. Attorneys Office since the investigation into crooked Alaska politicians began almost two years ago.

With all of the recent news stories and media hype concerning the indictment, Olson said he felt compelled to release a statement.

"I state categorically that I have not received any money or other benefits (including aviation gas) to myself, personally or any corporation I own, or my campaign from VECO and/or its representatives during the time period of concern and subsequently," said Olson.

"Secondly, the public record on my votes regarding the Petroleum Production Tax (PPT) is clear and without ambiguity," he continued. "I rejected any attempt by VECO to influence my decisions. A review of my voting record shows that I never voted in favor of a lower percentage surrounding the PPT subject matter or any other provision supported by VECO or VECO representatives."