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Sun

02

Nov

2008

Bi-Partisan Sleaze
Sunday, 02 November 2008 15:03
by Will Durst

It was as refreshing as a secret waterfall in the Sahara to see the FBI video of Democratic Massachusetts state Senator Denise Wilkerson stuffing part of a $23,000 payoff into her bra at Beacon Hill’s Fil- A- Buster restaurant under the shadow of Boston’s Capitol dome. Just for the sake of bipartisanship. In national politics these days, you hardly ever hear of a Democrat getting busted for corruption. Not because they’re any more honest by nature. Its just… who’s going to bribe a Democrat? They can’t get anything done. Besides, if you do give them money, they don’t know what to do with it. They put it in the freezer for crum’s sake. Or their undergarments.

On the other hand, take Alaska Senator Ted Stevens. Please. He not only knows what to do with the money, he knows how to earn the money and the optimum manner in which to solicit more money. Mister George Washington of the Bering Strait knows a thing or two about cash. But he’s not very conversant with that whole going gently into that good night thing. The fifth sitting US Senator to be convicted of a felony vows to appeal his conviction all the way to the highest court in the land or until he gets kicked out of the Most Deliberative Body in the World. Whichever comes first. And presumably, costs less.

Requesting a speedy trial, the 84 year- old Moses of the Tundra was rapidly found guilty on seven counts (co- incidentally, one for each Senate term served) of violating federal ethics laws. The legal way of saying “as crooked as a dump truck full of corkscrews.” Forget the quarter million dollar improvement to his house that he assumed to be included in his fifty- dollar refurbishing estimate; let’s go straight to the $2700 massage chair given to him by a restaurant owner. Adamantly refusing to accept the gift, the Senator did agree to store it in his basement rec room. For 7 years. Subsequently, he rammed through a 2.7 million dollar project building a road to the restaurant of the very guy storing the chair in his basement. Hopefully, those banks we’re bailing out can earn a fraction of that kind of return on investment.


Republicans across Alaska and the country (you know- Joe the Plumber’s Uncle Grumpy and Tina Fey’s look alike) are urging Stevens to resign, as nobody wants to give the impression that Alaska voters are in the habit of electing felons, which might make other choices they made look a bit silly as well. But calling Stevens stubborn is like saying the Himalayas are curiously bereft of PGA tour worthy golf courses. He’s Pre 49: A fierce patriarchal force in politics since before statehood who insists he can still be an effective advocate for Alaskan citizens if rewarded with an eighth crime spree. Erh, Senate term.

Voters get to pass the final judgment on both Senators as Stevens and Wilkerson soil their respective state’s ballots in tawdry re- election attempts Tuesday. Stevens did receive a bit of good news when the Alaska Division of Elections determined he was able to vote for himself. Even though convicted felons are ineligible, he still gets to go to the polls because… he hasn’t been sentenced yet. A moral victory perhaps, but the last victory either he or Ms. Wilkerson will probably experience for a long long time. One can only hope.
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