In the wake of today's announcement by the State of Alaska, that they are criminally charging lobbyist Ashley Reed, Diane Benson has made the following statement:
Every day I talk to Alaskans who are excited to turn the page on not only the last eight years but also the last few decades of the politics as usual. Change is in the air, and for the first time in a long time, we all feel like we can breathe again.
Whether we know it or not, every one of us is living history. The actions we take today will have an effect long after tomorrow. This is why it's critical that history remember 2008 as the year America ended the culture of corruption in Washington and returned trust, ethics, and accountability to our government.
The incestuous relationship between politicians and large industry lobbyists begins with campaign contributions and ends with representatives looking out for special interest and not their own constituents. If the past two years of FBI raids, indictments and politicians in jail have taught us anything it's this one stark truth. If we want clean government then we must start with clean campaigns.
I refuse to take campaign money from lobbyists or industry PACs not because I have to, not because I benefit, but because it's the right thing to do. Americans deserve a government they can trust. And Alaskans deserve a representative who will represent their interest, instead of special interests.
As the primary election approaches, I challenge my opponent, Ethan Berkowitz, to do the same and return all lobbyist money that he has received in this campaign.
In particular, I am concerned with the money Berkowitz has accepted from lobbyists who have also given to Sen. Ted Stevens and Rep. Don Young in the past. The relationship that those two representatives have had with lobbyists has eroded their judgment and I believe, as Democrats promoting change, we need to run campaigns that are clean from lobbyists' influence. Additionally, some of the lobbyists Berkowitz has received money from have recently had criminal charges filed against them by the state of Alaska. (Ashley Reed who has also given Berkowitz $1,000 during his last four races.)
Furthermore, I ask Berkowitz to join me in my pledge to help change Congress by refusing to take any additional money from lobbyist or industry PACs at any point in the future.
I certainly believe in a government that's by the people and for the people. It is my sincerest hope that Berkowitz does as well and will promptly return these contributions.
The Benson campaign ha mailed this out, along with an attached MS Excel spreadsheet, detailing the dovetailing of GOP lobbyists' interests with Ethan Berkowitz and Republican candidates.