Alaska editorial: Young cleared, legally

This editorial originally appeared in the Anchorage Daily News:

The House Ethics Committee has ruled that Alaska Rep. Don Young didn’t violate the law in accepting 12 checks totaling $60,000 for his legal defense fund from 12 businesses owned by one family. As the committee pointed out, the companies are technically 12 separate entities in Louisiana, but they represent exactly one political interest.

The committee further said that it didn’t believe Rep. Young intended to violate the spirit of the law, and noted that he checked with his legal defense fund trustee to see if he could accept such donations. (Is this the most naïve committee in American politics?)

The committee also said it never wants this to happen again.

Gary Chouest, an oil field services and shipbuilding magnate whose family has contributed money to all three members of Alaska’s congressional delegation, presented Young with the $60,000 at a fundraiser in Texas.

If this isn’t an example of using the letter of the law against the spirit, we don’t know what is.

Rep. Young consistently has refused to discuss any of his legal issues, which most Alaskans probably figured were over earlier this year when the Department of Justice said it was ending its investigation of Young without charges. But the congressman raised more than $1 million for his legal defense, much of it from contributors who presumably hope to gain by his continued presence in Congress. Now the ethics committee has changed the rules so the $5,000 contribution limit will apply not to legally separate companies but to their owners. In other words, we wouldn’t see another contribution of 60 grand from one family sliced a dozen ways for legal cover. Good idea.

Rep. Young says he’s satisfied that the committee dismissed the allegations against him. But this contribution is another example of big money in politics that leaves many Alaskans and other Americans deeply unsatisfied. Gridlock and vitriol aren’t the only reasons Congress earns single-digit approval ratings from the American people. Contributions like this one do nothing to restore trust. Too many of our elected officials don’t seem to care. And that includes Don Young.

The contribution may have been legal; that doesn’t make it good.

More

Outside Editorial: A more presidential Donald Trump is unlikely, but necessary

The following editorial first appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Read more

Letter: The Homeless Ordinance

As I understand it, on Monday the assembly will be voting on an ordinance to permit the police to evict people camping in the downtown and make them move to a camping area in the Thane avalanche zone. I think that’s mistaken public policy. I’ve just hand delivered a 5 page letter to the CBJ in opposition. But what’s really needed isn’t my opinion. It’s a newspaper’s reporting of the facts. That said, if someone’s camped out in a doorway, it couldn’t be a more clear cry for help. And underneath that gruff scary homeless person is so often someone suffering the terrible diseases of mental illness and addiction.

Read more

Win Gruening: Homeless Not Helpless

When Mayor Ken Koelsch recently proposed a city ordinance prohibiting camping in downtown Juneau to help resolve on-going issues with our homeless population, there was significant public reaction.

Read more

My Turn: A Good Time for Kindness

Some time ago, the snow was mounded everywhere, deep and wet. As I gazed from my window, contemplating shoveling, I saw a neighbor plowing out the nextdoor driveway and mailbox — and then chug over to our mailbox, and plow it out as well. Such a welcome and unrequested act of thoughtfulness, of kindness: it lifted my spirits!

Read more

CONTACT US

  • Switchboard: 907-586-3740
  • Circulation and Delivery: 907-586-3740
  • Newsroom Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Business Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Accounts Receivable: 907-523-2230
  • View the Staff Directory
  • or Send feedback

ADVERTISING

SUBSCRIBER SERVICES

SOCIAL NETWORKING