Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis: All letters are not created equal

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

All letters are not created equal

Jim Clark's guilty plea and subsequent statement as well as Bill Starr's sudden addiction to prose (his latest to the APOC) have provided the opportunity to see the very clear contrasts between the two men and their written "explanations" of their behavior.

I've extensively reviewed Mr. Starr's past writing. What I've noticed about the statement before the APOC is that it's just more of the same, as he arrogantly demands that APOC "pick up the pace" on the investigation (that they just opened two or three days ago).

Nowhere in Mr. Starr's letters or statements do we see any type of true apology or remorse - just claims of victim-hood, denials of doing anything wrong and statements claiming that any appearances of ethical or moral lapses are a means to an end for "the public good."

Compare that with the first two paragraphs of Mr. Clark's statement:
Alaskans are right to be disappointed and upset with me. I today pled guilty to a federal offense, predicated upon what were in essence violations of Alaska campaign finance laws, which I committed by requesting pre-primary and primary campaign contributions from VECO.

It is ethically and morally wrong for a public official to violate Alaska’s laws under any circumstance. It is particularly wrong when it involves a request for campaign funds from a company such as VECO, which was supporting important legislation then before the Administration and the Legislature. No one is more aware of my inappropriate conduct than I am. For this I sincerely apologize to all Alaskans.

The third paragraph, I felt, was an unexpected mea culpa:
I specifically apologize to then candidates for governor in the 2006 Republican primary, John Binkley and Sarah Palin. Nothing can justify breaking Alaska’s campaign finance laws to unfairly benefit one candidate. Such actions hit at the heart of our democratic system by making the public cynical about government.

It's quite possible...maybe even probable that the primary reason for pleading guilty is to lessen the punishment. However, I would think it still requires some level of accepting responsibility for one's actions even from the most loathesome criminal in order to take that step.

As someone who has taken that "fearless moral inventory" of myself on a number of occasions, I know what it looks like to come face-to-face with the consequences of my own hubris, taking responsibility and making amends. It appears to me that Mr. Clark may have done the same thing. Realize that Clark is an old man like Bill Allen - any amount of jail time is a huge deal and conceivably they could die in jail. However, even if the time is shortened, they will still be pariahs when they get out...to their former friends and to the public. No one will trust them for the rest of their lives.

And honestly, as much as I detest these guys, I couldn't help but be moved a little a few months ago when it was revealed that part of Bill Allen's agreement was to protect the other members of his family. I have to give a little respect to anyone who will fall on their sword for their family.

Mr. Clark seems to have publicly fallen on his own sword by his own choice out of loyalty to Gov. Murkowski.
I apologize, too, to Governor Frank Murkowski who trusted me to follow the law while acting in his behalf. I recognize that some people will unfairly attribute what I have done to him.
Whether or not Murky deserves it we may never know.

This year we have had many of our trusted servants betray us. Some have owned up to their behavior, some have forced the hand of the law to judge them. Some have denied all and either gotten their wrists slapped or have gotten away with it.

At this time we may be angered at the length and breadth of Jim Clark's offenses. However, it is the result of that public agreement that we will get to learn about the offenses of others who are more powerful...men who think they are entitled to break the law with impunity and would remain in the shadows forever if they could.


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