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Ex-lawmaker convicted in VECO corruption probe to run for Wasilla City Council

Sean Doogan

Vic Kohring, elected to seven terms in Juneau as a Wasilla state representative before resigning amid corruption allegations and a 2007 federal felony conviction, is again throwing his hat into the political ring. Late Friday afternoon, just before the deadline, Kohring filed paperwork to run for the Wasilla City Council.

In a prepared statement announcing the filing, Kohring said he feels “the timing is right to re-enter public service.” He filed for seat F, held by Brandon Wall, who will be running for re-election.

In 2007 Kohring was one of three Alaska Legislators caught up in a massive FBI federal corruption investigation of former oilfield service company Veco and its owner, Bill Allen. That investigation, dubbed “Polar Pen”, led to corruption convictions for Kohring, and 11 others including fellow legislators, Pete Kott, Tom Anderson Bruce Weyhrauch, John Cowdery and Beverly Masek before taking down Senator Ted Stevens a year later.

Evidence of prosecutorial misconduct led to charges being dismissed against Stevens. Kohring was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison in 2008, after being convicted on three of four counts by a jury for taking bribes from Allen. He was released from prison a year later after the Stevens conviction was tossed out, and he pled guilty to a single count of taking a bribe in exchange for a sentence of time already served and the removal of conditions of his release.

Kohring said he wants to put the past behind him. He wrote in a press release Friday:

I paid a very steep price and it changed my life forever. But it only shows I'm human and capable of making mistakes for which I'm owning up to. I screwed up with my carelessness and am the first to admit it. So I again apologize to my former constituents and ask that they give me a second opportunity to serve them as I work hard to earn their trust. As I embark on my campaign and meet voters face to face, I welcome their input -- good and bad -- concerning my candidacy.

To run for Wasilla City Council, a person has to be a resident of the city limits for at least one year and must be a registered voter.

Kohring has lived inside the Wasilla city limits since his release from prison. Convicted felons do lose their right to vote, but can, upon their release, ask the state to put them back on the voter rolls. A database check of state records show Kohring did just that, and became a registered voter again in April.

If the city of Wasilla accepts his filing application, Kohring will be vying for one of three seats (out of six on the council) up for grabs when the election is held Oct. 1.

Contact Sean Doogan at sean@alaskadispatch.com