From the Anchorage Daily News:
“Gov. Sarah Palin and the head of the Alaska Republican Party said Thursday that Sen. Mark Begich should give his Senate seat up to a special election now that prosecutors have abandoned their case against Ted Stevens.”
Just before the general election last November, Stevens was found by a jury to have illegally accepted gifts from private contractors. Justice Department officials are now asking the judge to throw out the conviction because of mistakes made by the prosecution.
The timing of the prosecution was unfortunate for Stevens. In fact, federal prosecutors working cases against elected public officials are specifically instructed to be cautious in the timing of their actions, for the very reason that news about cases will often have a political impact.
However, to call for a special election because of this seems like a stretch. It may be that Stevens is not guilty of the crimes he has been convicted of, but it also seems that at a minimum, he encouraged an appearance of impropriety. When you do that, there are consequences.
I’ve never been a fan of Alaska’s congressional delegation. They are proud and notorious porkers, and in recent years there has been a good deal of documented corruption in the state’s political system. While I’m not happy to see a Democrat occupying one of their Senate seat’s, it may ultimately be a good thing that allows a Republican other than Stevens to soon take it over.