On May 19, the Clarion reprinted a VECO Times editorial. VECO Times editorials on the oil industry have about as much validity as the short promos for the Rush Limbaugh daily radio show. Both take small kernels of truth lathered over with mountains of distortion. Where Rush and VECO differ is that VECO takes a very active roll in political influence.
Whenever the VECO Times talks oil and taxes, every Alaskan should put on their hip boots and turn their bull pucky firewalls to full power.
Big Oil wants deniability.
The attack ads and mystery phone calls on the oil tax proposal were the product of the group Alaska’s Future touting Big Oil’s positions. Since contributors did not have to be disclosed, Big Oil can claim “we were not involved.” Big Oil’s own ads were “feel good” ads extolling their “virtues.”
It has been covered in Alaskan books that one of the reasons Big Oil consolidated contracting under VECO in the early 1990s was in order to wield more political power through VECO while keeping Big Oil’s hands clean.
VECO has made a habit of renting state legislators with off-session “jobs” and “consulting” contracts. VECO executives always contributed the legal max to any pliable candidate or sitting legislator.
The worst example, of course, is Ben Stevens $250,000 VECO “consulting” contract. But Ben is not alone. Two former peninsula state senators held VECO jobs in the off session. Of course, when they left office, the jobs disappeared.
Other current and former legislators statewide are or were on the payroll. A legal way to buy influence, and it has been quite successful. Why else do you think Alaska’s legislators are rolling over to give away Alaska’s fair share of the oil pie?
What is really alarming is that there are people out there who believe the snake oil editorials and the distorted ads from Alaska’s Future. It is scary.
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