Candidate wants probe into McGuire's work

Metcalfe asks APOC to further investigate senator's consultancy

Posted: Monday, December 31, 2007

ANCHORAGE - U.S. Senate candidate Ray Metcalfe has filed another complaint with the Alaska Public Offices Commission over state Sen. Lesil McGuire's work for Providence Health System.

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In the complaint, Metcalfe calls for further investigation into the Anchorage Republican's consultant work in 2003, which included strategizing with a hospital lobbyist on how to obtain more money from the state.

"I believe APOC should require her to amend her description of her work to read 'lobbying and bribery,"' Metcalfe stated.

The complaint also asks APOC to refer the matter to the criminal division of the state Department of Law and the legislative ethics committee. Metcalfe argues that it is bribery for a state legislator to get paid to advise a company on legislative strategy.

Metcalfe is running for the U.S. Senate as a Democrat and has already accused McGuire of ethical violations. The commission dismissed the previous accusations, although they are still planning to look into McGuire's consulting record.

McGuire's lawyer, Charles Dunnagan, said APOC has not found any unethical actions by McGuire, and that the agency should not degenerate into a forum to allege wrongdoing by public officials without evidence.

"It is easy to bandy about these ugly, ugly allegations," Dunnagan said.

Although APOC ultimately dismissed the claims against McGuire, documents released as part of that investigation showed that McGuire's consulting job included working with Providence's lobbyist, former Rep. Eldon Mulder, on how the hospital could get money from the state as part of a land deal involving the old Alaska Psychiatric Institute.

One of the commission members, Elizabeth Hickerson, said she thought it was a conflict of interest for McGuire to have been involved in lobbying strategy.

The commission members voted to postpone the subject until their February meeting. APOC's staff and lawyer are to look into it in the meantime.

Assistant attorney general Jan DeYoung has told the commission she does not think what McGuire did can be considered lobbying because there's no evidence McGuire had communication with lawmakers on behalf of Providence.

McGuire provided a sworn statement to APOC that her work for Providence did not involve legislation or health care issues before the Legislature. She also said in the statement that she "never crafted or sponsored a budget item, that, to my knowledge, benefited Providence."

McGuire has had a trying first year as a state senator.

She was accused in November of threatening the wife of a former lobbyist whose testimony helped convict McGuire's husband, Tom Anderson, on federal bribery charges. Anderson, a former legislator, is serving a five-year sentence in an Oregon prison.

Metcalfe lost to McGuire in a 2000 race for the state House of Representatives.

He founded the Republican Moderate Party and has a history of filing APOC complaints. He was among the first to object publicly to consulting contracts awarded to former state Senate President Ben Stevens. Stevens, son of U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, is under federal investigation but has not been charged and denies wrongdoing.

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