Alaska Senator Mark Begich: Ritz Rendezvous with Lobbyists

Monday, February 1, 2010

Alaska Senator Mark Begich, who is already under investigation for not disclosing budget shortfall information during his tenure as Anchorage mayor, doesn't seem to be too worried about it.

In fact, the Senator spent his weekend whining and dining in Florida with lobbyists.

Conservative blog, Doctor Bulldog and Ronin, reports:

The guest list for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s “winter retreat” at the Ritz Carlton South Beach Resort doesn’t include the price tag for attendance, but the maximum contribution to the committee, typical for such events, is $30,000. There, to participate in “informal conversations” and other meetings Saturday, were senators including DSCC Chairman Robert Menendez; Michigan’s Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow; Bob Casey of Pennsylvania; Claire McCaskill of Missouri; freshmen Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mark Begich of Alaska; and even left-leaning Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

[...]

The retreat’s guest list is a marked contrast to Menendez’s recent rhetoric, which has echoed the White House denunciation of “special interests” and “fat cats.”

“In the upcoming elections, voters will face a choice between Republicans who are standing with Wall Street fat cats, bankers and insurance companies — or Democrats who are working hard to clean up the mess we inherited by putting the people’s interests ahead of the special interests,” Menendez said in a press release last Wednesday.

Really? And was he working to clean up this "inherited" (sound familiar?) mess during his soiree with lobbyists and special interests?

About a month ago, in the midst of the controversy about Begich's actions as mayor, infamous Dan Fagan hammered the press for their overprotection of the senator. He mockingly writes in The Alaska Standard:

Why is everybody being so mean to Mark? He’s doing everything Harry Reed and Barack Obama are asking him to do. If it weren’t for Mark we wouldn’t have a government takeover of health care. So what if he snuck through an extra $200 million in raises for unions as mayor by lying about the budget? What’s the big deal? The rich under burdened taxpayers can afford it. Why are so many picking on Mark Begich? Why won’t they just let it go and move on?

The editorial writers at the Daily News make it clear they want people to start being nice to their favorite senator. They even put their wish in the form of a new year’s resolution.

They write,

“Here's something we would like to see in the New Year. How about if the Assembly and Mayor Dan Sullivan stop arguing with Sen. Mark Begich about his performance as mayor and criticizing his performance as a U.S. senator?”

I am not making this stuff up. The Daily News love fest with Mark Begich has reached such a crescendo, the paper is now calling on some to stop criticizing him. You can’t make this stuff up.

So will certain members of the press rush to his side concerning this weekend retreat as well? It must be nice to be the senator from Alaska and have people in your corner like this.

Unfortunately, a certain public servant was not afforded the same devotion during her tenure as governor, and she was on the right side of ethics and reform. Governor Palin spent much of her political career fighting corruption in the state of Alaska, no matter what side of the aisle it came from. The thanks she received, as we are all aware, was the vitriol of so-called activists who habitually filed bogus ethics complaints that wasted taxpayers' money and state employees' time.

Senator Begich, on the other hand, deserves to be called out for rendezvousing with lobbyists in a posh Florida hotel. Such behavior is certainly questionable, if not sleazy.

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