Current corruption linked to Alaska's current election laws

Posted: Wednesday, August 01, 2007

I guess someone has to fight for the right of big money donors to buy influence. Sean Parnell of the Virginia-based Center for Competitive Politics is apparently afraid that Alaskans will replace our current system of legalized bribery, in which big-money donors can pick the candidates and have undue influence on the results, with a clean election system based on ideas not money ("'Clean Elections' a bad idea," July 30).

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Parnell claims very unconvincingly that the current spate of corruption has nothing to do with our lax campaign finance laws.

Former gubernatorial candidate Andrew Halcro tells a different story. Soon after being elected to the House of Representatives, he got a call from then-Chairman Bill Allen of VECO Corp. According to Halcro, Allen "insisted my vote go to Pete Kott for speaker of the House. When I declined, he pointedly reminded me about the financial help he had given the party and the fundraiser he had sponsored for my campaign months earlier."

Andrew Halcro did not listen to Allen, but we now know many of "our" legislators did. Bill Allen and VECO gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to candidates because it was a very profitable investment. With the Clean Elections proposal, Alaskans can spend about $8 per person to invest in good government instead.

Although Parnell is paid to tell us differently, common sense and recent experience tell us that legislators listen to the people who pay their bills.

Wouldn't it be nice if they listened to us for a change?

Alex Prichard


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