Alaska

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There go the frequent flier miles

Well, it looks like Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) may not make it back to the Senate after all. While things looked good after the election, the AP has now called the race for his Democratic opponent Mark Begich.

Oversight?

Let's assume that John McCain did in fact have Alaska Governor Sarah Palin thoroughly vetted before selecting her as his running mate. One can only further assume then that he really savors a challenge, because in addition to the more high-profile news that has leaked about the Governor over the weekend, several questions have been raised about just how ethically sound this "reformer's" credentials are.

Not This Time

I'm sorry to report that Alaska's Clean Elections ballot initiative did not pass yesterday -- in fact, on the primary ballot where both Sen. Ted Stevens (R) and Rep. Don Young (R) faced primary challenges none of the ballot initiatives got much love. But as they say, Rome wasn't built in a day. This is only the beginning of Alaska's fight for Clean Elections.

Going to a Vote

As Sen. Ted Stevens' (R-AK) trial date approaches the details of the case against him are slowly coming to light. He is alleged to have accepted gifts and services from VECO Corp. (like the expensive remodel of his home) in exchange for doing official favors for the company, then concealed the extent of those gifts. Stevens is set to stand trial in late September.

Alaska Countdown

A week from Tuesday voters in Alaska get a chance to vote on whether they want Clean Elections in their state. Appearing on the ballot as Measure 3, the Clean Elections Initiative would provide a full public financing option for candidates running for state office.

Corruption to Clean Elections

Will the indictment of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) and the imprisonment of several Alaska state legislators in connection with Veco Corporation bribery scandal boost the number of voters who support the Clean Elections initiative on the ballot in Alaska this month? The author of this letter to the editor of the Fairbanks News-Miner thinks a full public financing program for state elections would help put these scandals in the past.

From Kaarle Strailey:

Stevens Indicted

Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK), long the subject of a federal investigation into his ties to the oil services company VECO has been indicted on seven counts of making false statements on his Senate financial disclosure forms. The wide-ranging VECO bribery scandal has already landed several Alaska legislators in in jail, and a handful more are awaiting trial.

Raise Your Hand If You Haven't Been Bribed

Let's hope for Alaska State Sen. John Cowdery's (R) sake that former Rep. Vic Kohring was right about prison being a long vacation because Crowdery is the latest Alaska lawmaker to be indicted in the extensive VECO Corp. bribery scandal. Crowdery was indicted for conspiracy and bribery following revelations by Rick Smith, the CEO of VECO that he had bribed state lawmakers in exchange for legislation that would benefit the company.

Hometown Hijinks

The Anchorage Daily News gives us their take on the news that lobbyists are bailing out Rep. Don Young's (R-AK) election campaign with thousands in campaign contributions: "It's sleazy. It's wrong. It makes ordinary citizens cynical and saps their faith in the integrity of their government and the officials who are supposed to represent them." Hey, don't hold back there ADN!

 

Pack Mentality

Remember that story a couple of weeks back about a memo instructing staffers in Rep. Don Young's (R-AK) office to give unrestricted access to certain "A-Team" lobbyists? Well, some of those same names are showing up again on the list of people who've donated to Young after his chief of staff reminded them in an email that if Young loses his re-election bid amid accusations of corruption, "you and your clients will be impacted."