Alaska AG quits amid coal deal flap

Feb. 6, 2005 at 3:19 PM
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JUNEAU, Alaska, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Alaska Attorney General Gregg Renkes has resigned amid fallout from a state trade deal that could benefit a company in which he owned $120,000 in stock.

Renkes, appointed as the state's top lawyer after Republican Gov. Frank Murkowski was elected in 2002, blamed the news media and "partisan political attacks" for his resignation, the Anchorage Daily News reported Sunday.

He is also Murkowski's close friend, three-time campaign manager and, with chief of staff Jim Clark, rounds out the governor's inner circle of political advisers.

Four months ago news reports revealed Renkes' financial and personal ties to Denver-based KFx, which was at the center of a coal deal between Alaska and Taiwan that was backed by Renkes.

U.S. Attorney Robert Bundy, hired by the governor to investigate Renkes right after the first news story was published, concluded that Renkes did not have a legally significant conflict of interest while negotiating the coal deal.

Bundy did find, however, that Renkes broke the law in not asking for ethics advice before working on the deal.

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