Commentary: Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens must lose seat

This editorial appeared in The Olympian on Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008.

It boggles the mind.

As a convicted felon, Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens cannot vote. But he can sit in the chamber of the United States Senate and cast votes on bills under consideration.

That's outrageous.

Unfortunately, there is nothing in the United States Constitution that says a politician convicted of a crime must relinquish his or her seat in the Senate or U.S. House of Representatives.

Guess what. The Washington State Constitution has the same loophole.

Mike Hoover, senior Senate counsel here in Olympia, said in his reading of the state constitution there is no provision for the automatic expulsion of a legislator convicted of a felony. The House or Senate can expel a fellow lawmaker with a two-thirds vote. That's the same provision as the federal Constitution.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Olympian..