Ethics column wrong

Letter to the editor

Posted: Wednesday, December 15, 2004

I write in response to Lew Williams' Dec. 12 column in defense of Attorney General Renkes. Mr. Williams asserts that I and other members of the Knowles administration held stock in Cisco Systems "while the state of Alaska was negotiating with Cisco for services, a closer tie than the KFx situation."

While members of my family and I do indeed hold stock in Cisco (reported in my ethics disclosures), to my knowledge the state did not negotiate any major contract with Cisco Systems at any time during my tenure. In any event I did not participate in any negotiations with Cisco, ever represent or lobby for Cisco, write letters for the governor regarding Cisco, urge any state official to make use of Cisco's products, meet with Cisco officials, or in any other way use my official position in relation to Cisco.

Mr. Williams also asserts that a 1989 attorney general's opinion appeared to adopt the rule that "if a government official holds 1 percent or less of the stock in a company it is 'insignificant' and there is no ethical conflict." I am the author of the opinion. Contrary to Mr. Williams' implication, that is not the standard under the Executive Branch Ethics Act.

Those who supplied Mr. Williams with this misinformation have done him and the reading public a disservice.

Bruce Botelho


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