Politics & Government

Murkowski aide Fuglvog resigns, agrees to plea deal for falsifying records

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski's fisheries aide has resigned and faces prison time after admitting to breaking commercial fisheries laws.

Arne Fuglvog, who has long played an influential role in Alaska fisheries politics, will be sentenced to 10 months in jail if a judge agrees to his plea deal on the charge of falsifying fishing records. The deal also includes $150,000 in fines and an admission of guilt.

Fuglvog has agreed to plead guilty to one count of violating the Lacey Act -- a federal law prohibiting the sale of illegally taken wildlife, fish and plants -- by harvesting twice as much sablefish as he was allowed and then lying about where he caught the fish. According to the plea agreement, Fuglvog falsified records of his commercial catches several times between 2001 and 2006 while operating a boat called the Kamilar. He would fish in one area and report he'd caught the fish somewhere else, the document says.

Fuglvog joined Murkowski's staff in September 2006. Murkowski is refusing to say when she learned that her fisheries adviser was under investigation for fisheries crimes, only saying that the crimes were committed before he joined her office.

Fuglvog signed the plea agreement on April 8. There is no sign, at least publicly, that Murkowski took any action against Fuglvog before accepting his resignation on Sunday, right before his plea agreement was to go public.

"Arne served Alaskans for the past 5 years on my staff and for over a decade before that in his public service work in fisheries," Murkowski said in a written statement. "I thank him for his years of service, but he knows the importance and value of our fisheries, and he also knows what all fishermen understand: fishing laws and regulations must be followed.

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