Alaska, the site of numerous corruption scandals in the last two years involving the energy company VECO and extending all the way to the state’s long-time U.S. Senator, Ted Stevens, yesterday resoundingly defeated a proposal to implement a "clean elections" law to implement taxpayer funding of political campaigns.
Proponents of the law were well-funded, had the endorsements of all the state’s major newspapers and popular former governors Walter Hickel and Tony Knowles, support from the unions and the American Association of Retired Persons, and we expect when all is said and done, vastly outspent any opposition In fact, through August 16 Alaskans for Clean Elections had already spent over $140,000, while no organization at all existed in opposition to the measure. Proponents attempted to parley the VECO scandals – which deal with allegations of outright bribery and laws already on the books – as a reason for placing more restrictions on private political participation and for hitting the taxpayer to pay for campaigns.
It was, one might say, the "perfect storm" in which to pass a "clean elections" law. Yet the voters saw through the malarky, and slammed the measure, 65-35. Once again, the reform that dare not speak its name, that hides behind the misnomer "clean elections," proves not to be so popular in practice. Congratulations to the voters of Alaska for preserving their tax dollars and their freedoms.