The tally of Alaska legislators who have either pled guilty or been convicted of some sort of corruption relating to the Veco operation today reached 10. Senator John Cowdery took the plea today. Because of his age and ill health, the sentence is expected to be home confinement with a significant fine. The Anchorage Daily News story is here: http://www.adn.com/cowdery/story/628524.html
There’s still one who is charged and pending trial, former Rep. Bruce Weyrauch, once my representative and someone I’d consider a friend using that word’s political connotation. Of course, all the buzz is about whether or not the DOJ will “get” Ben Stevens, Senator Ted’s son. Many here thought that the contrived charges against Ted were a ploy to get Ben to give himself up. The fed does know how to play hardball.
My problem with all this is that the Public Integrity Section has managed to make politics a crime. People associate with and give money to people in or seeking office because they see in that person the opportunity to get government to do what they want it to do. Really, none of these cases reached a true quid pro quo standard: vote for this bill and I will give you this money, job, benefit. They really are all predicated on a deriviative of post hoc ergo after hoc: Veco and the Industry wanted Legislation A/ Veco and the Industry gave money to Legislators n/ Legislators n voted for Legislation A/ therefore Legislators n voted for Legislation A because Veco and the Industry gave them money. It is a definitional fallacy, but an easy one to get a lay jury to believe.
I’m not trying to say that these were good guys; I’ve had my own problems with some of them and know enough about others to beleive they deserve what they got for something they did if not this. Yet, I’ve watched real crime take place here and you could not scream loud enough to get anyone’s attention. I just wonder why the people I know are in jail and Jefferson is still walking around. Why haven’t New Jersey and Illinois been reduced to Military Districts?