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Keyes under fire


No one is suggesting that Alan Keyes, the GOP candidate for U.S. Senate, shouldn't eat, drive a car or have a house for his family to live in. That is not the issue. The issue is whether he should continue to draw $8,500 a month in salary from campaign funds to pay for those things, given the fact that the Federal Election Commission can't seem to make up its mind whether the practice is legal.

To avoid any appearance of impropriety, Mr. Keyes should simply stop using money raised for his campaign to pay his mortgage and personal expenses. Oliver North, of Iran-contra notoriety, denounces Mr. Keyes' press critics as "jackals and sharks." But state GOP chair Joyce Tehres told Mr. Keyes the same thing: It looks too much like soliciting funds for one purpose but then using them for another.

It is difficult to challenge a popular, well-financed incumbent -- a difficulty compounded in Mr. Keyes' case because federal conflict-of-interest laws obliged him to give up his lucrative job as head of a private, non-profit group. But having abided by the letter of the law on that score, it makes little sense for him now to persist in a practice he knows the FEC might later interpret as a violation of those very same campaign finance rules.

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