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Vic Kohring Has Odd Regrets

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Vic Kohring is back. And he thinks he’s a phoenix.
Back in October, the disgraced former state legislator penned an editorial for the Alaska Dispatch:

A phoenix, of course, is a symbol of rebirth and renewal and can symbolize someone “rising from the ashes.” I was struck by this analogy as it never occurred to me. I’ve seen myself as having hit rock bottom and in survival mode since the horrific days when the government railroaded me into a loss at trial. Then it was the U.S. Marshals hauling me off to prison in shackles.

Alaska’s self-identifying super-bird was indicted on federal bribery and extortion charges for his involvement with Bill Allen and VECO the last time our legislature attempted to transfer ownership of state to Big Oil.
A taped 2006 conversation inside Suite 604 at the Baranoff Hotel highlighted the antics going on between Mr. Phoenix and Bill Allen (Prewitt, 2008).

“Bill, uh, Mr. Allen, up on the hill they’re pullin’ me ten thousand different directions. I’m bushed, and I’m only here cause I got a personal financial matter that could hurt me politically.”
Allen replied, “Yeah? What’s up, Vic?”
Kohring said, “I owe seventeen thousand dollars on a credit card that’s in collection; they’re pushin’ me real hard and I don’t have the money. I thought maybe you could cover me with a loan, or some work, or somethin’ until…”
[VECO Vice President] Rick Smith butted in, “Seventeen thousand dollars! Well yer gonna have ta keep yer mouth shut and not talk about it to anyone, especially APOC [Alaska Public Offices Commission]. We don’t need any red flags wavin’ over us.”

Kohring resigned after seven terms in the state house and was convicted on three criminal charges. An appeals court later vacated those charges. In 2011, facing another trial, the Wasilla Republican opted to incur a five digit-fine in lieu of further jail time and pled guilty.”
The full $17,000 was never doled out, but Kohring did confess to asking for it. He took somewhere in the neighborhood of $1,000 from the oil tycoon while the legislature debated oil tax legislation. So, the “hauling off in shackles” thing probably wasn’t completely out of the blue…
But at the end of last month, he announced his intentions to run for city council in Wasilla. Last week, he took to Channel 13’s “Alaska Political Insider,” to plead his case.
The interview was rich in mansplaining, while void of any admission of wrongdoing or culpability for Kohring’s own actions.
Kohring faced multiple attempts from show host, Dorene Lorenz, to address his past offenses. Most notably, when Lorenz asked: “What is it about your life that, looking back, you most regret?”
Great opportunity. Well played, Lorenz.
The question was posed in a way where Kohring could apply his own editorial brush; apologetically explain his long, hard crawl back from a vast wasteland of shame to his new humble position: the little guy, asking for a second chance. Contrite, remorseful, sympathetic. It’s the kind of speech Frank Luntz dreams about writing. Keep your hands in your pockets and channel your inner-Weiner.
Kohring cued up to the camera. “Hmm,” he exclaimed and took a deep, reflective breath, before announcing to the world, with a straight face:

“Well, I would say not studying hard enough in high school.”
They continued on to talk about his high school athletic accomplishments.
The media attention surrounding Kohring has spiked in the past week, subsequent to his candidacy for city council. Given that city council seats don’t generally garner much attention, this probably has come as a bit of a surprise to the seat’s current holder, incumbent Brandon Wall.
The attention is because of Kohring’s celebrity. Kohring’s celebrity is because a federal jury found him guilty on three charges of bribery. He is a disgraced politician. We’d be best served remembering that.
In his October Dispatch editorial, Kohring addressed running for office, saying that his plate was full in between caring for family and writing a book. “I’ve never been the politically ambitious type and had to be pushed by friends into running for the Alaska Legislature during my first campaign in 1994. I’ll leave it up to God to guide me and see what doors are opened.”
Nine months later, he seems to be kicking through another door without expressing any regret for the last one he was booted out of. That’s a joke. If we’re going to roll cameras and hold the microphones out for him, we should treat him less like the honorable statesman returning home, and more like a washed up reality show contestant looking for another way back into the show.

1 COMMENT

    • Hey Steve, we’re both right, but I over simplified my wording. I’ve adjusted it to expound a bit more: “Kohring resigned after seven terms in the state house and was convicted on three criminal charges. An appeals court later vacated those charges. In 2011, facing another trial, the Wasilla Republican opted to incur a five digit-fine in lieu of further jail time and pled guilty.”

    • Gilbert, bribery can be a felony or a misdemeanor. Even if it was a felony, Article V of the Alaska State Constitution secures that all civil rights are restored, including qualifications to vote and therefor run for office, after one serves their sentence.

      • Article V of the Alaska State Constitution secures that all civil rights are restored, including qualifications to vote and therefor run for office, after one serves their sentence.
        As it should be, nobody, not even Vic Kohring should have to face double jeopardy in our system. The man paid his debt to society, it’s time for society to forgive him. If you can’t find the forgiveness in your heart for your enemies, who can you find it for ?
        Although Vic is no saint, the Feds case against him was not clean, and if they can do this to Vic, or Ted Stevens, they can do it to you and me.

        • The problem is that in order for the public to actually trust Vic, he needs to do the most unpopular thing possible in our modern world, and admit that he engaged in unethical actions that were an abuse of his former position. Vic has not done that, and in fact has done the complete opposite which is blaming everyone but himself. That is not indicative of a man who is suited for the leadership of others, and makes a joke out of his Christian faith which – again – calls for one to take personal responsibility for their actions as opposed to empty repentance which is simply asking forgiveness while not changing a single bit. Vic, before seeking a position of power, needs to take these steps, and deal with the ugly process that comes with accountability. Until he does this, he should not return to office because he will simply engage in the same unethical behaviors, and do so with the purpose of concealing them better than he did before. Is that the sort of character we want in an elected official?

          • It would have helped his case had he said something to that effect, Lil Ol Me. Not revert to tales of basketball championships. The feds bungled the case – that doesn’t mean he was exonerated. He plead guilty. He took money from Bill Allen. He can’t even own up to that while running for another elected office.