GOP leader Ruedrich may settle with state

Posted: Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Alaska Republican Party Chairman Randy Ruedrich is seeking to settle a case in which the state found probable cause that he violated the state Ethics Act.

The Alaska Department of Law said earlier this month it had probable cause to believe Ruedrich performed Republican Party work on the job as an appointed state oil and gas commissioner.

The department gave Ruedrich and his attorney, Eric Sanders, until Monday to decide whether they want to discuss a settlement.

"They disagree with the state about the charges, but they have asked to meet with us to discuss a resolution," Paul Lyle, an assistant attorney general, said Tuesday.

Neither Ruedrich nor his attorney returned phone calls seeking comment Tuesday.

Ruedrich resigned in November from the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission - an $118,000-per-year post to which he was appointed in February 2003 by Republican Gov. Frank Murkowski.

In a May 3 letter, Lyle cited four apparent violations by Ruedrich, who took over as party chairman, an unpaid position, in June 2000.

Each violation carries a maximum $5,000 penalty.

Allegations include using state facilities, equipment and resources for partisan political activity, as well as engaging in outside volunteer work for the Republican Party in a manner that was inconsistent with his state job.

Lyle also wrote that there was probable cause to believe Ruedrich knowingly forwarded a confidential document to an attorney for Evergreen Resources.

Ruedrich has acknowledged he erred when he sent an attorney general's opinion to lawyer Kyle Parker, who represented Evergreen on matters pertaining to methane gas development in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. But Ruedrich said he didn't realize until after he sent the memo that it had been marked confidential.

Lyle said settlements of Ethics Act cases normally involve a written agreement signed by the subject of a complaint and the attorney general's office.

"It would set out what the resolution of the case is, and that would be a public document," Lyle said.

A payment of some financial penalty could be part of the mix, he said.

"But in terms of what the precise terms would be, or what the state would be willing to accept, I can't disclose that at this time," Lyle said. "That really has to be something that is done in the negotiation process with the subject of the complaint."

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