Give politicians no pity; they rake in under-the-table profits

Posted: Sunday, June 24, 2007

As the muck continues to ooze from the hole that the FBI dug in Alaska's political money pit, I am amazed at the community support of the accused, as well as those currently in the cross hairs. What are we as taxpayers thinking? Are we thinking?

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What I see here is the same old shell game that politicians have played for years. They operate behind a smoke screen of community concerns as they rake in the profits of under-the-table deals. In a recent article in the Juneau Empire, Lew Williams Jr. heaps praise on U.S. Rep. Don Young's ambitions in Florida. Why is Young meddling in Florida's politics? Is Alaska just not big enough? Maybe it's because Alaska's money fountain has been temporarily turned off as VECO reconstitutes itself.

Unlike so many other states, Alaska still has a wealth of natural resources for sale. Unfortunately, huge corporations and greedy politicians are setting themselves up as the middlemen in the sale of those resources as well, while Alaska's uninformed or misinformed citizens are left scratching their heads.

Well, some of us are scratching our heads. Others are rushing to defend representatives who line their pockets while posing as legislators. According to a recent letter to the editor from a crony of former state Rep. Bruce Weyhrauch, we're supposed to feel sorry for folks like Weyhrauch. Apparently in their role as legislators, they have to express their views and vote on legislation. Then the ungrateful public "judges them," and they don't get hired as attorneys or accountants or contractors by some constituents that disagree with their views. This makes them "financially vulnerable" to bribes.

Excuse me? If they didn't want to take a stand and represent the people who elected them, they shouldn't have run for office.

I find it offensive to insinuate that someone who chooses to serve in public office is making a sacrifice. The truth is they trade in a few potential accounts for the opportunity to lead. We need to use the concept of personal sacrifice very sparingly, especially at a time when so many Alaskans are sacrificing a great deal more than their personal wealth. They're sacrificing their health, their happiness and their lives. I haven't heard of anyone greasing their palms.

Michael J. Lebert


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