Thursday, October 7, 2010

Carney: Murkowski's 'Alaska Mafia' and the public dole

Timothy P. Carney, senior columnist for the Wasington Examiner, connects all the dots to sketch a picture of the corrupt Stevens-Young-Murkowski-K Street octopus that Sarah Palin has been fighting for years in Alaska:
Once insurgent conservative Joe Miller knocked off moderate Sen. Lisa Murkowski in Alaska's Senate primary, almost all Beltway Republicans lined up behind Miller. But thanks to Alaska's unique political culture, there is a small cadre -- mostly former staffers for Murkowski and other Alaska lawmakers -- supporting her quixotic write-in race for re-election.

Murkowski's bid has brought attention to a quiet but significant clique on K Street composed of former aides to Murkowksi, her father, Frank, former Sen. Ted Stevens, and Rep. Don Young, who specialize in lobbying for energy interests, Alaskan natives, and Alaska's towns and cities. The phrase "Alaska mafia" slips off the tongue of many Republican staffers, activists, and lobbyists who have dealt with this clique.

"They've done a very good job of looking out for each other," one Republican lobbyist told me. Stevens, Young and the Murkowskis have shared plenty of staff, and sent dozens of aides to lobby on K Street. These aides served as invisible middlemen in the earmark machine run by the venerable Alaska Republicans.

Stevens was a champion porker who once bragged, "I am guilty of asking the Senate for pork and proud of the Senate for giving it to me." Young was chairman of the House Transportation Committee. Lisa Murkowski was put on the Appropriations Committee in her first full term, and her father chaired the Energy and Natural Resources Committee before becoming governor.

Their aides grease the skids, cash in on K Street, and then donate to Murkowski and Young...

These are just the opening stanzas of a very thorough investigation by Carney. Read his full exposé here.

- JP

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