FAIRBANKS - A pro-Palin Web site has accused Rep. Jay Ramras, R-Fairbanks, of a conflict of interest for owning BP stock. The Fairbanks Republican denies any breach of ethics and says he has made a full disclosure of his stock trading.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Conservatives4Palin.com posted a blog entry on Monday saying that an August 2008 stock buy is a likely violation of legislative ethics rules, because Ramras could stand to gain financially if BP's stock goes up. That's possible if the BP and ConocoPhillips-backed gas pipeline project prevails over a competing line by TransCanada and backed by the state under the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act.
Ramras calls the allegation far-fetched. He says he's a regular day-trader who had hopes of turning the BP stock around quickly, only to be thwarted by a falling price.
He denied a breach of ethics rules, noting his full disclosure to the Alaska Public Offices Commission.
"I honored the spirit, the intent and the letter of the law in filing with APOC," Ramras said. "Sure, it's a large stock. I have a large portfolio."
Financial disclosure forms he filed with the Alaska Public Offices Commission in March show he purchased 3,000 shares in BP, a North Slope oil producer, for $172,385 on Aug. 18, 2008.
Blogger R.A. Mansour pointed out that in March, Ramras introduced a resolution in the Legislature calling for a re-evaluation of the state license.
"If the AGIA licensee tanks, the obvious winner is the Denali pipeline," she said. "That stands to reason he would personally benefit because of the amount of stock he has."
The AGIA re-evaluation resolution sought a business-like review of the state's $500 million financial commitment to TransCanada.
On Tuesday, Ramras said he still holds 5,000 shares of BP stock. He purchased 5,000 shares of TransCanada stock on Monday after the Conservatives4Palin.com blog entry drew the attention of Alaska media.
"I'd like to get out of both of them, when I'm no longer losing money," Ramras said.
Ramras is an outspoken critic of Gov. Sarah Palin, particularly on energy issues and AGIA.
He also says he has little use for Conservatives4Palin.
"When Alaskans want to question my integrity or behavior, I am delighted to engage. I just don't want to participate with a Web site that's run by non-residents who are trying to infect the contest of ideas we're supposed to have here in Alaska," Ramras said.
The site's domain name is registered with a Bellevue, Wash., address.
Mansour describes Conservatives4Palin as a blog supporting Palin's push for energy security and other positions the writers subscribe to. The site doesn't raise money, although links will take donors to other sites which do. Writers aren't paid.
Palin does not have any relationship with the Web site, her spokeswoman Sharon Leighow said.