Politics & Government

AARP, AFL-CIO oppose Alaska's 'vague' anti-corruption initiative

In Alaska, where prosecutors have sent a string of politicians and bribe-payers to federal prison in recent years, who could oppose what has been billed as an anti- corruption ballot measure?

How about the AARP. The Resource Development Council and the Anchorage Economic Development Corp. The Alaska State Chamber of Commerce, the Alaska Democratic Party, and the AFL-CIO. Unions for police, teachers, firefighters and other public employees. Municipalities and boroughs from around the state.

They've all come out against the anti-corruption initiative. They say the five-page measure is vague, confusing and so overly broad that it could bar a state contractor's grandmother from making a campaign contribution or a fire chief from testifying before the Anchorage Assembly without an invite. They say if voters in August make the ballot measure state law, parts are sure to be struck down in court as unconstitutional.

"There isn't a soul in this state that isn't against corruption, but to label it anti- corruption and make it so convoluted, and not be clear and concise, becomes the challenge," said Wayne Stevens, the state Chamber's chief executive.

Backers say the wording for Proposition 1 can always be tweaked later by the Legislature and that much of the criticism is rooted in myth, not reality. "Alaska is being ruined by the special interests, crooked government contractors and manipulative state lobbyists who are looting our state treasury," Dick Randolph, former state legislator and chairman of pro-initiative Clean Team Alaska, says in a campaign mailer and on the group's website.

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