Alaska deserves better from its elected leaders

  • Saturday, June 28, 2014 3:13pm
  • Opinion

We’re embarrassed by recent revelations that two prominent Alaska politicians have been accused of violating ethics and campaign finance laws.

A House Ethics Committee found that U.S. Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, used campaign funds for personal trips and accepted improper gifts, according to a June 20 Associated Press report.

The committee ordered Young, the longest serving Republican in the House, to pay a nearly $60,000 fine and issued a formal letter of rebuke over 15 trips Young took to hunting lodges between 2001-2013.

Meanwhile, Anchorage mayor and candidate for lieutenant governor Dan Sullivan was fined $187.50 after issuing a campaign-related press release through his city spokesperson in May, an illegal use of city resources that violates campaign finance laws.

Alaskans are no strangers to ethics violations, misuse of resources, outright fraud and other abuses of power.

Former governor Sarah Palin was accused of abusing her power when she dismissed then-Anchorage police chief Walt Monegan, for allegedly refusing to fire her ex-brother-in-law. A group of state legislators found she had violated the state executive ethics act, while the state’s personnel board ultimately found no wrongdoing.

And the infamous political corruption probe involving VECO and Bill Allen that resulted in charges for seven Alaskan politicians including extortion, bribery, money laundering, felony conspiracy, and mail fraud is still fresh in our memory.

We should expect better from our legislators and the people who have access to public money.

If they can’t hold themselves to a higher standard of ethical decision-making, they shouldn’t be in office.

Alaskans deserve politicians who won’t embarrass us, politicians who will be as careful with our money as they are their own. Most of all, we should be proud of the people we choose as our leaders.

We encourage you to share your opinion at the ballot box this fall and let our politicians know that we won’t tolerate their abuses of power anymore.

We deserve better.

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