State Division of Elections gives Ogan recall group OK to proceed to next step

Posted: Sunday, April 11, 2004

A citizens group can go ahead with its attempt to recall Sen. Scott Ogan, R-Palmer, the state Division of Elections has decided.

Elections Director Laura Glaiser approved the application for a recall petition Friday after being advised by an outside law firm that it should be certified.

But the ultimate decision on whether Ogan will lose his seat is still a long way off.

Ogan has 30 days to appeal Glaiser's decision to the state Superior Court. He could not immediately be reached for comment.

Also, the certification only means the recall committee can proceed with another round of collecting names on a petition.

Recall supporters will need 3,183 signatures from voters in District H - a number equal to 25 percent of those who voted in the last election - to force an election on whether the senator should lose his seat.

Myrl Thompson, chairman of the recall committee, said collecting the names should not be a problem. The group easily gathered 2,200 signatures for its initial application, which was far more than the required 10 percent of the votes cast, he said.

"We did that in about three and a half weeks," Thompson said. "That part we're not worried about."

The effort stems from their anger over Ogan's former employment as a $40,000-per-year consultant for Evergreen Resources, a company proposing to explore for coal bed methane on thousands of acres in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.

Ogan resigned from Denver-based Evergreen in October, saying the controversy generated by his dual jobs as legislator and consultant made it impossible to do either.

But that did not satisfy Ogan's detractors.

Among other grounds stated for recall, the group accuses Ogan of actively promoting legislation benefiting Evergreen's interests. The group contends that Ogan's legislative activities enabled Evergreen to acquire coal bed methane leases, and that he knew legislation he supported would deprive his constituents of notice of the leases.

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