Former Veco chief executive Bill Allen should be sentenced to just fewer than four years in prison and fined $750,000 for his role as Alaska's corrupter in chief, federal prosecutors say.
"The actions of Bill Allen were corrupt, sustained, and damaging to the integrity of the legislative process," prosecutors said.
The government's recommendation was filed late Wednesday, a week before Allen and another Veco executive involved in a wide-ranging corruption scheme, Rick Smith, are due to be sentenced on their 2007 guilty pleas to conspiracy, bribery and tax charges.
The two men worked extensively with the FBI and prosecutors, giving detailed evidence in multiple debriefings about their illegal activities and making recorded phone calls at the government's request in an effort to elicit admissions from politicians. They also testified at trials.
Smith, once Veco's vice president and its unofficial lobbyist, should be dealt a 42-month prison sentence and a fine of $7,500 to $75,000, prosecutors recommended in a separate filing Wednesday.
Lawyers for Allen and Smith are asking for significantly lighter prison sentences and fines. The sentencing recommendations were accompanied by dozens of pages of documents filed by prosecutors and defense attorneys. Some of those documents revealed long-secret evidence involving U.S. Rep. Don Young, who has been known for more than two years to be under investigation by federal authorities.
In a 2007 "confession of additional criminal activity," signed a few days before he pleaded guilty, Allen spoke of 13 years worth of gift-giving by him and Smith to "United States Representative A," a thinly veiled reference to Young, as well as former Alaska U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens.
Prosecutors described those efforts by Allen and Smith as an effort "to corruptly influence and reward two federal public officials for official action beneficial to VECO."
"For instance, in or around June, 2006, Smith obtained a set of golf clubs, costing approximately $1,000, that Smith gave to United States Representative A. Smith used Allen's credit card."
Allen, 72, and Smith, 64, also admitted breaking federal campaign finance laws on Young's behalf, using corporate funds to pay the expenses of a yearly fund-raiser from 1993 to 2006. The illegal corporate donations were not reported.
"Each year, Allen and Smith arranged for the purchase of catering expenses, liquor, equipment rentals, and other associated costs," Allen's confession said. "These expenses were paid using Veco's corporate funds, and amounted to approximately $10,000 to $15,000 each year." The total spent by Veco over the years was between $130,000 and $195,000.
Young has issued general denials of wrongdoing, but has refused to answer specific questions from the news media about the corruption investigation. He has reported spending more than $1 million in campaign funds on attorneys' fees over the last two years.
Most of the admissions in Allen's 2007 confession concern Stevens and were aired in Stevens' month-long trial in 2008 that resulted in a guilty verdict on all seven counts. But Stevens' charges were dismissed earlier this year when the Justice Department admitted it failed to turn over favorable evidence to Stevens' defense team.
In making their sentencing recommendations, prosecutors said they were not taking into consideration Allen's crimes involving Stevens and Young, only the state legislators mentioned in Allen's 2007 charging document. Illegal payments to state officials total "just over $395,000" between 2002 and 2006.
Not all of that money was pure bribes -- payments for specific legislative action -- prosecutors said. But all of it was used by Allen to purchase influence, they said.
"The defendant was the pivotal figure in a conspiracy that lasted from 2002 to 2006, which included a series of corrupt acts that were designed to, and did, influence the Alaska legislature, particularly during and around its 24th Session in 2006," prosecutors said. "In sum, defendant Allen, representing VECO, curried favor with various state and federal legislators and awarded them with cash and other items of value so they would be favorably disposed toward voting for legislation that was of interest to VECO and the oil industry."
But the 46-month sentence recommended for Allen by prosecutors is substantially less than the six-year sentence former Rep. Pete Kott got on his conviction for accepting illegal payment in the thousands of dollars from Allen. Former Rep. Vic Kohring got 42 months for even less.
Still, Allen and Smith assert the government is being too harsh.
"Mr. Allen deeply regrets his actions and cooperated with the government to the best of his ability," Allen's lawyer wrote in a filing Wednesday. Allen should only get six months in prison and six months of community service, he said, and a fine of $150,000. Smith's attorneys are asking for a year and a day in prison for their client and 100 hours of community service.