Alaska Editorial: Keeping party chair leaves Alaska GOP tied to corruption

Posted: Monday, March 24, 2008

This editorial appeared in the Anchorage Daily News:

Alaska Republican delegates passed up another chance last weekend to get their ethically challenged chairman, Randy Ruedrich, to step aside.

By voting to support Ruedrich, the delegates to the Republican Party convention said, nah, this doesn't matter. We don't need to clean up our image.

They actually did the Democrats a favor. With Ruedrich still in charge, the state's Republicans own a tarnished party.

Ruedrich resigned from his state job when he was being investigated for unethical behavior.

While a paid member of a state commission that regulates oil and gas, Ruedrich leaked a confidential state legal document to an industry lobbyist, and conducted Republican Party business in his office.

As part of a settlement, he admitted his wrongdoing and paid a $12,000 fine in 2004.

It was bad enough when Ruedrich was one of only a couple of high-placed Republicans under investigation for abusing their offices.

Now the state GOP also shares the shame of three Republican state representatives convicted of corruption last year.

To give credit, a substantial number of Republicans attending the party convention in Anchorage did call for Ruedrich to resign. The vote asking him to do so lost 167 to 133.

Those who wanted a new chairman, including Gov. Sarah Palin, hoped the action would make a statement for honest government.

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