Politics & Government

Justice Dept. won't reimburse ex.-Alaska Rep. Weyhrauch

Federal prosecutors said Tuesday that former Rep. Bruce Weyhrauch is not entitled to have the government reimburse $663,000 in legal fees he spent fighting corruption charges that eventually were dismissed.

In a 20-page response to the demand for payment made by Weyhrauch last month, the Justice Department said Weyhrauch failed to qualify under a 1997 law that allows for such reimbursement when a prosecution is "vexatious, frivolous or in bad faith."

Weyhrauch pleaded guilty to a state misdemeanor in March, admitting that he aided and abetted an oil industry official whom he knew had failed to register as a lobbyist -- the now-imprisoned chief executive of the Alaska oil-field services company Veco, Bill Allen.

In return for Weyhrauch's plea, four federal corruption felonies, including bribery and attempted extortion, were dismissed. A state judge handed him a three-month suspended jail sentence and fined him $1,000.

Far from being a prosecution marred by misconduct, Weyhrauch, in his guilty plea in state court, acknowledged that he committed many of the misdeeds that formed the basis for the federal charges, the prosecutors said.

Weyhrauch is a lawyer, and while the Legislature was in session in 2006 and hotly debating an oil-tax matter being lobbied by Allen, Weyhrauch asked Allen to send some of Veco's legal work his way. Weyhrauch then set up a meeting in Anchorage with Allen and a Veco vice president to "discuss a mutually beneficial relationship." At that restaurant meeting, secretly recorded by the FBI, Allen lobbied him on the oil-tax legislation as he lobbied Allen for work, the prosecutors said.

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