Lobbyist called an unindicted co-conspirator

Prosecutor gives former SE legislator the designation in ex-Speaker Kott's trial

Posted: Thursday, September 13, 2007

Former Senate Majority Leader Jerry Mackie has been named an "unindicted co-conspirator" in the federal corruption investigation in Alaska.

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The former Southeast legislator received that designation from a prosecutor in the federal bribery and extortion trial of former House Speaker Rep. Pete Kott, R-Eagle River, now underway in Anchorage.

Mackie is Sealaska Corp.'s contract lobbyist, but Sealaska officials say the investigation doesn't involve the Juneau-based regional Native corporation.

Mackie's attorney, Jeff Feldman of Anchorage, said his client is only peripherally involved and is not a subject of the investigation.

"Jerry's never been charged or accused by anybody of anything," he said.

The term "unindicted co-conspirator" first gained notoriety during the Watergate investigation in the early 1970s when it was revealed that a federal grand jury had assigned that designation to then-President Richard Nixon.

Feldman said Mackie's role in the Kott prosecution is far less interesting.

Mackie was formerly a partner in Northwest Strategies, a campaign consulting firm in Anchorage.

Kott hired that firm in a previous election, and, according to a federal indictment, a pollster working for Kott was paid by Bill Allen, CEO of VECO Corp., as a bribe. Allen pleaded guilty to the charges in May.

By labeling Mackie an unindicted co-conspirator, a designation Feldman called "unfortunate," taped conversations between Mackie and a VECO executive that would otherwise be considered hearsay could be admitted as evidence, Feldman said.

Feldman said Mackie was interviewed by FBI agents soon after the raids on the legislative offices of Kott, Rep. Bruce Weyhrauch, R-Juneau, and four other legislators last August.

The agents had only a limited number of questions about Mackie's work for Kott, and Mackie had been unaware of any connection between him and the corruption case until he was mentioned in court Tuesday, Feldman said.

Mackie, son of Sealaska board member and former board Chairwoman Marjorie Young, is the only Alaska lobbyist employed by the Juneau-headquartered Native corporation.

Sealaska spokesman Todd Antioquia and Executive Vice President Rich Harris said they were not concerned about Mackie's relationship to the federal investigation.

"We're confident in his abilities and his ethics," Antioquia said.

Mackie also has represented the city of Juneau as a lobbyist, City Manager Rod Swope said. He was brought in by the Juneau Assembly a few years ago when the city was fighting capital move efforts.

Swope said the specific role of Mackie, who was from Craig, had been to help reach out to majority Republicans.

"I don't know Jerry very well, but I thought he did a good job," Swope said.

Other Mackie clients included two members of the oil industry, Alyeska Pipeline Service Co., and Pert Star Inc., as well as Cook Inlet Region Inc. a native corporation with oil and gas interests.

He also represented the Salvation Army, Trident Seafoods Corp. and others. He also represents Holland America Line cruise ships.

• Contact Pat Forgey at 523-2250 or patrick.forgey@juneauempire.com.

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