I could not in good conscience read Ralph Swap's letter in the May 8 Juneau Empire, which says "Rebecca Braun has come out of hibernation to express her liberal views," and not respond.
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It appears Swap definitely subscribes to the ends-justify-the-means theory of governing. As long as Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, brings home the pork, let's just look the other way whenever he does anything questionable in Washington, D.C. After his former aide Mark Zachares recently pled guilty to accepting tens of thousands of dollars in gifts from lobbyist Jack Abramoff, Young has stonewalled all questions regarding his hiring of and association with Zachares.
Young is proud to say he never accepted any campaign contributions from Abramoff, but he neglects to add that he has accepted at least $20,000 in contributions from Abramoff's clients.
What does Swap think about the legislation initiated by then-Sen. Frank Murkowski in 1999, after a trip to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, which are U.S. territories?
At the time, Young was chairman of the House Resources Committee, which has jurisdiction over U.S. territories. Murkowski was then chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which had parallel jurisdiction over the commonwealth. In 1996, Murkowski traveled to Saipan and was outraged by the human rights abuses he saw. Murkowski toured a factory which employed mainly immigrants and called the working and living conditions he witnessed there "appalling."
His response was to initiate an immigration reform measure. His bill passed the Senate unanimously in February 2000, but never got to the floor of the House.
Both Abramoff and Zachares lobbied heavily against the immigration reform measure. Young stopped the bill cold in his committee, and it died there. He called the reports regarding the commonwealth "hysteria reporting by the media," knowing full well that Murkowski sponsored the reform bill he killed in his committee. I believe this incident is just the tip of the iceberg of how Young has abused his power and seniority during his tenure in Washington.
Swap tells us we should overlook all that stuff because Young brings home the bacon. Do the ends really justify the means? Perhaps what needs to come out of hibernation, is Swap's moral conscience.
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