The Anchorage Daily News reported today that Sen. Lisa Murkowski will sell back the Kenai River lot she purchased from politically connected developer Bob Penney. Murkowski bought the prime recreational lot last December for approximately half of its actual value. Both Murkowski and Penney, a highly successful real estate developer, said they had no idea that the property was worth that much. Who would have dreamed that river front property on the most popular fly fishing river in the the busiest tourist area of the state would increase in value? Certainly not someone whose career was based on buying and selling property and certainly not someone whose career is based on selling the tourist attractiveness of the state to the rest of the country. No wrong doing here kids, so just move along.
As of this week, all three members of Alaska's congressional delegation are the subjects of federal corruption probes, congressional ethics complaints, or both. I hope Murkowski does not get away with killing the investigation by selling the Kenai land back to Penney. If Penney had given her a satchel full of cash, no one would have had a problem calling it a bribe and giving the bribe back would not have made the problem go away. Ever since territorial days, Alaskan politicians have been far too cozy with developers and the resource extraction industry. It's time for Alaskan politics to grow up out of its banana republic ways and take on some genuine accountability.