Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Alaska State House Passes HR10, Demanding A Federal Apology To Ted Stevens; Rep. Mike Doogan Casts The Only "No" Vote

On April 8th, 2009, the Alaska State House passed HR10, which is a non-binding resolution demanding that the Federal government investigate the prosecution team which targeted Ted Stevens, apologize to Ted Stevens and the people of Alaska, and grant Ted Stevens legal standing to sue the Federal government. More on this story on the ADN Alaska Politics blog.

The resolution passed with 34 Yeas, 1 Nay, 1 Excused, and 4 Absent. The one "Nay" vote was cast by Rep. Mike Doogan (D-Anchorage), who objected because the resolution, in his opinion, presumes it was a political prosecution. The primary sponsor was Rep. Richard Foster (D-Nome), who votes with the Republican majority. Co-sponsors included: Thomas, Millett, Johansen, Harris, Munoz, Neuman, Johnson, Ramras, Austerman, Joule, Wilson, Edgmon, Dahlstrom, Chenault, Hawker, Gruenberg, Tuck, Kelly, Olson, and Seaton. This represented a bi-partisan effort.

After the customary battery of "whereases", the meat of the resolution is as follows:

BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska House of Representatives demands that the federal government grant Senator Stevens permission to sue the United States Department of Justice for redress; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED that federal employees involved with Senator Stevens' prosecution be investigated for violations of the Hatch Act and, if found guilty, be subject to penalty under the Act; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED that the United States Government should issue a formal apology to Senator Stevens and the People of Alaska for this heinous miscarriage of justice.

Rep. Doogan's opposition, although seemingly principled, is likely to trigger some criticism, albeit this time mostly from the right. Rep. Doogan previously unleashed a firestorm of criticism predominantly on the left when he "outed" the identity of the anonymous blogger who edits Mudflats; his premise was that Mudflats had become sufficiently pre-eminent and influential that it served the public interest to know the identity of the blogger. But Doogan also got support from Dan Fagan. Mudflats response is posted HERE.

While I disagree with the outing, primarily because the final decision to control the level of exposure should belong to the individual blogger, I saw little purpose in joining any public "crusade" against him, considering that I was tracking a pending election and a volcanic eruption at the same time. Besides, Rep. Doogan is a decent lawmaker who enjoys broad support from within his district. He's not a knee-jerk Nancy Pelosi Democrat; he'll break ranks if necessary to support his district's interests. Doogan also voted in favor of HB19 to take Alaska off daylight savings time, thus indicating that he wants to reduce the burden of government upon people. That's not a bad thing.

But just this one time, I don't believe it would have hurt Rep. Doogan to join in this classic expression of Alaskan solidarity and either vote Yea to make it unanimous, or else to excuse himself so it could be unanimous. We need to send a message to the Feds - get off our backs and out of our wallets!

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