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Alaska's Attorney General Resigns

February 06, 2005|From Reuters

ANCHORAGE — Under fire and accused of promoting a state trade deal that could have brought financial benefits to himself and his friends, Alaska Atty. Gen. Gregg Renkes resigned Saturday.

In a prepared statement, Renkes, a Republican, said he made the decision to focus his time and energy on his family and to shield it from "partisan political attacks."

"The time has come to remove my family from the vicious politics of personal destruction. I must leave this office and this privilege I have treasured and held dear. A family is priceless; a job can be done by others," the statement said.

Renkes, appointed in 2002 by Republican Gov. Frank H. Murkowski, became the focus of debate because of his role in promoting a state deal to process coal and sell it to Taiwanese utilities. The process used to improve the coal's efficiency is patented by Denver-based KFx Inc.

At the time Murkowski announced the deal in September, Renkes held about $100,000 worth of stock in the company and had served as its lobbyist and technical advisor.

Renkes was the official who drafted a memorandum of understanding to sell the coal, and he was named by Murkowski to a special panel promoting Alaska-Taiwan trade.

An inquiry launched by Murkowski mostly cleared Renkes of violating the state's Administrative Ethics Act last month.

Former U.S. Atty. Robert Bundy, hired by Murkowski in October to investigate the matter, concluded that Renkes violated a technical aspect of the law, the provision mandating better disclosure and independent evaluations of potential conflicts of interest before official actions were taken.

Bundy also said Renkes used "poor judgment" in deleting all his old e-mail messages on Oct. 1, the day that an article detailing his involvement with KFx was published in the Anchorage Daily News.

Murkowski had no comment on the resignation.

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