Congressional Delegation Split On Taking Meetings With Fuglvog

In 2011, Arne Fuglvog pleaded guilty to illegal fishing and had to spend five months in jail. It was a mighty fall for a man who was then serving as an advisor to Sen. Lisa Murkowski, and who had once been considered for the top fisheries management post in the country. Now Fuglvog is back — as a lobbyist. But APRN’s Alexandra Gutierrez reports, Alaska’s senators aren’t giving him access.

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Fuglvog lobbies for four different fishing companies. This spring, he got in touch with Sen. Mark Begich’s office on behalf of his clients, and staff talked with him.

It’ll be the only contact he gets. From here on out, Begich says that his office won’t be taking Fuglvog’s calls.

“In his case, in the business that he’s in, he’s very well — like I said — informed. He made a mistake. He paid for it. But at the same time, around the fishing industry issue, we want to make sure that we’re talking to a much broader group of people. It’s the policy of our office.”

Begich adds that initially, he didn’t know that Fuglvog was lobbying his office or other senators.

“He met with everybody. And when I became aware of it, I said, ‘That’s not happening.'”

Fuglvog denies contacting other congressional offices.

Fuglvog’s former boss also says she won’t take meetings with him. In a recent interview with Kodiak member station KMXT, Murkowski said that the companies who hired Fuglvog should send someone else to lobby her.

“We won’t be seeing him in our office. We’ve got a policy that if you have worked for me that there needs to be a separation between work and any access in terms of lobbying of two years, and so, that will be in place in our office.”

Fuglvog left his Senate position one year and ten months ago. Murkowski’s office wasn’t able to clarify whether they would consider taking meetings with him starting in August.

In the KMXT interview, Murkowski also explained that she understood why some politicians would consult with him.

“I think those who know him recognize that he has a significant understanding of the fisheries and the research and Alaska’s fisheries. And he’s going to be working with folks to help them as they seek to advance their priorities.”

There is one member of Alaska’s congressional delegation who is open to meeting with Fuglvog: Rep. Don Young.

“Since Arne Fuglvog left Senator Murkowski’s office in 2011, he has not met with or reached out to Congressman Young or staff,” wrote spokesperson Mike Anderson in an e-mail. “That being said, Congressman Young has an open door policy, and should Mr. Fuglvog like to meet with the Congressman on issues pertaining to Alaska, he is more than welcome to.”

For his part, Fuglvog says he hasn’t asked for any meetings with any members of Congress and that he doesn’t intend to.

“My lobbying is very limited and interactions with Congress are minimal. Registering to lobby is important but still a formality to make sure that we are transparent about who we are working for,” Fuglvog wrote in an e-mail. “I am just working on behalf of some members of the fishing industry, the same as dozens and dozens of other advocates. Doing exactly the same thing I always have- working on behalf of the fishing industry to make things better.”

This story has been updated to include comment from Fuglvog.