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Murkowski mum about Fuglvog

Jill Burke, Amanda Coyne | Aug 03, 2011

U. S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski through her spokesman again declined comment Wednesday about her former fisheries aide, Arne Fuglvog. On Monday, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Anchorage charged Fuglvog with a single, misdemeanor violation of the Lacey Act, an act that combats the illegal sale of wildlife, fish, and plants.
If a judge agrees to the terms of the plea deal, Fuglvog will spend 10 months in prison, pay a $50,000 fine and send another $100,000 -- approximately the same amount he profited from the illegal fishing -- to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for enhancing fisheries in the coastal areas of the Gulf of Alaska.
Murkowski's office would not comment on how long the senator had been aware of the investigation into Fuglvog's illegal fishing, and what response, if any, was taken or whether he had been taken off of fish policy issues.
Fuglvog has known about the charges for at least several months. Although the plea deal was made public earlier this week, it’s signed and dated nearly five months ago, in April, and is referred to as a "negotiated resolution." His lawyer Jeff Feldman declined to say when Fuglvog was first aware of the investigation. 
After the plea became public on Tuesday, Murkowski issued the following statement about Fuglvog, emphasizing, as Fuglvog did in a statement released through his attorney, that the violations took place before Fuglvog began his career as a legislative aide:  
Prior to joining my staff, Arne Fuglvog violated a fishing regulation by misstating the location where he caught sablefish. I accepted his resignation Sunday, and he will plead guilty to this charge as part of a plea agreement. 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. 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. Arne has cooperated fully with the authorities, taken responsibility for his actions, and accepted the consequences.
Murkowski’s spokesperson, Matthew Felling, said on Wednesday that.......

Senator's aide stayed on job despite plea
FISHERIES: Fuglvog still represented Murkowski after his plea agreement.
Anchorage Daily News
Published: August 3rd, 2011 10:03 PM
Last Modified: August 3rd, 2011 10:03 PM
Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski on Wednesday continued to refuse to answer questions about her top fisheries advisor, who faces nearly a year in prison after he admitted lying about illegally catching at least $100,000 worth of sablefish

Murkowski staff member Arne Fuglvog signed a plea agreement on April 8 in which he admitted to a misdemeanor charge of breaking federal commercial fisheries law by falsifying catch records. He agreed to accept a sentence of 10 months and pay $150,000 in fines and penalties.

Fuglvog remained on Murkowski's staff until Sunday, when she accepted his resignation. On Monday, he was formally charged and his plea agreement became public. A judge has not yet accepted his guilty plea.

Through her spokesman, Murkowski repeatedly declined to answer any questions about Fuglvog by telephone and email on Tuesday and again Wednesday, including when she learned Fuglvog was under criminal investigation and whether she knew he admitted his crime to federal prosecutors four months ago.

She issued a written statement Tuesday thanking Fuglvog for his service and emphasizing that his crime occurred before........

............ Shannyn Moore, an Anchorage talk show host and political activist, said Wednesday that people who had been crew on Fuglvog's fishing vessel contacted her around December 2008.

Moore said the people, who she declined to name, told her they had already been called in to testify as part of an investigation of Fuglvog. They were upset to see Fuglvog was under consideration to head the fisheries service, Moore said.

Moore said she was given a copy of a partial "fish log book" detailing Fuglvog's actual catches, as opposed to what he reported catching. She said she contacted the office of Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank, because Frank was supporting the other finalist to lead the national fisheries service. Frank's pick didn't get the job either.

Frank spokesman Harry Gural confirmed Wednesday that Moore had contacted a staffer in his office. Gural said Frank's office had already been aware of things Moore was talking about and did not have any evidence of wrongdoing.

"Based upon someone calling us and saying there is something someone did that might have been inappropriate or whatever we're not going to go with that information and do something because we don't have any further backup," he said.

Fuglvog's attorney, Jeff Feldman, has asked the U.S. District Court in Anchorage to set an initial hearing before Aug. 12 for Fuglvog to formally enter his guilty plea........

KMXT Audio Aug. 3 Audio >>