We watched with a mixture of disgust and pity as five-term legislator Beverly Masek was sentenced to six months in a federal penitentiary on Thursday. Her crime? Selling the public trust for pocket change.
Through tears, Masek admitted being corrupt, although her attorney did his best to distribute the blame for her misconduct. He called her husband abusive. He said she felt adrift in the legislature after losing her mentor, former House Speaker Ramona Barnes. He said she had money problems, suffered from depression and drank too much.
In retrospect, it's a wonder she was able to get out of bed, much less run five successful political campaigns and spend 10 years in and out of Juneau representing the voters of Willow.
Despite her fall, we can't help but wonder whether she is prepared to take responsibility for herself and begin to turn her life around. Just two weeks before her sentencing, despite the clear instruction of the judge, she was still drinking heavily enough to cause a public disturbance.
In her favor, Masek did admit guilt, unlike convicted former state Reps. Pete Kott and Vic Kohring, her former colleagues. Even so, at least one of the ways she violated the public trust was stunningly cynical.
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