Recall petition to target Kohring

Wasilla official hopes to collect 100 signatures

Posted: Monday, May 14, 2007

ANCHORAGE - State Rep. Vic Kohring, one of the lawmakers indicted in Alaska's bribery scandal, is the target of a recall effort planned by a Wasilla councilman.

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Kohring, R-Wasilla, has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of bribery and extortion linked to the Legislature's negotiations last year over an oil profits tax and a natural gas pipeline.

Wasilla Councilman Mark Ewing said he is writing a recall petition. He expects to send it to Juneau with at least 100 signatures in about a week.

If the petition is accepted, Ewing must gather more than 700 signatures on another petition to put the recall to a vote.

Ewing didn't vote for Kohring in the last election and has not supported him for some time, but "this is not what the petition is about," he said.

"The petition is about the corruption scandal and the effectiveness of Mr. Kohring," he said.

Two former executives of the oil field service company VECO Corp. have pleaded guilty to federal charges that they bribed at least four Alaska lawmakers. They entered their pleas in U.S. District Court just days after Kohring and former Reps. Pete Kott and Bruce Weyhrauch - also Republicans - were charged with bribery and extortion.

Kohring maintains his innocence and has said he intends to fight the case. He also said he plans to serve out the remainder of his two-year term.

He has represented House District 14 since 1995 and most recently won re-election in 2006.

Kohring could not be reached on Sunday.

Ewing said he doesn't expect to have difficulty getting enough signatures.

"I've got people chomping at the bit," he said. "

Ewing joins Gov. Sarah Palin in calling for Kohring's resignation. Ewing said he hopes Kohring will agree to resign if enough signatures are collected to put the recall on the ballot.

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