Our View: Kohring shouldn't run

August 7, 2013 

Kohring decides to run

He's got the legal right, but here's a question

Former state Rep. Vic Kohring, convicted in the political corruption scandal that broke in 2006, wants to return to public service. He is seeking a seat on the Wasilla City Council in the Oct. 1 election.

Kohring, who did prison time, had his convictions vacated due to prosecutors' misconduct. Rather than face a new trial, agreed to a guilty plea on one felony -- accepting a bribe.

If Kohring is seeking redemption, that's understandable. But he seems to be of two minds about his record in the Legislature -- he admits crossing ethical lines and letting constituents down, but minimizes his offenses and maximizes the mistakes of federal prosecutors.

He tries to be penitent and defiant at once. He makes it a point to align himself with the late Ted Stevens as a victim of dishonest prosecution.

Public office is a public trust. Kohring betrayed that trust. His legal and prison ordeals were the result of his own behavior, not the fault of the feds, whatever their sins. Had Kohring played a straight hand as a representative of the people, he never would have been at the mercy of federal prosecutors. Those who remember tapes and testimony know the feds had a lot more than probable cause; they had Kohring dead to rights.

If he runs for office, the voters of Wasilla will be his jury. They will decide if he's now fit for public office. The conservative city doesn't lack champions of limited government. The incumbent, Brandon Wall, is puzzled by Kohring's entry because Wall's politics are similar to Kohring's -- without the felony baggage.

So here's the question. Is Kohring running to serve the public, or to serve his own need for redemption or justification? It seems the latter, and that's not the purpose of public office. Using public office for his own needs is what got Kohring into trouble in the first place.

Vic Kohring should ask his Wasilla neighbors for their friendship and forgiveness. He's got no business asking for their votes.

BOTTOM LINE: Vic Kohring should leave public office alone.

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