Sitting Senator Indicted: Ted Stevens of Alaska Faces 7 Count Indictment…
***UPDATE: Senator Stevens has been convicted of all seven charges. He will almost certainly face at least some jail time.
In the meantime, he continues his bid for a seventh term in the Senate and, according to Senate rules, will not automatically be forced to give up his seat as a result of his conviction: the Senate would have to vote 2/3rds in favor of removing him.
The argument against “career politicians” continues to become increasingly compelling…
Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska (the state of the infamous $233MM “bridge to nowhere” fiasco) has been indicted on seven counts of giving false statements, statements which date back to 2000. The 84 year-old Senator, the longest serving Republican in the Senate, has been a Senator continuously since 1968. You may remember Senator Stevens as the man who defined the internet thus: “The internet is not something that you just dump something on. It’s not a big truck. It’s…it’s a series of tubes.”
The indictments should come as no surprise to Senator Stevens: the FBI and IRS jointly raided his Girdwood home almost exactly one year ago, on July 31, 2007. The year before that, the FBI raided the home of Senator Stevens’ son, Ben Stevens. The younger Mr. Stevens is a former President of the Alaska Senate.
Under investigation for corruption by both the FBI and the IRS for some time now, Senator Stevens’ troubles began when he had his Girdwood home doubled in size in 2000. That renovation project was managed by Bill Allen. Mr. Allen is the founder and former CEO of VECO Corp, an oil company which received millions in federal funding. Mr. Allen pled guilty in May 2007 to bribing various Alaska legislators, extortion and conspiracy to impeded the IRS.
VECO Corp was founded the same year Mr. Stevens first joined the Senate, in 1968. The company was responsible for much of the clean up work following the Exxon Valdez oil spill off the coast of Alaska in 1989. VECO’s influence in Alaskan politics was wide-reaching: besides the senior and junior Stevens, raids relating to illegal gifts from VECO were conducted at the offices of Senator John Cowdery, Representative Vic Kohring, Representative Bruce Weyhrauch, Representative Pete Kott and Senator Don Olson. Senator Olson is a Democrat; the balance are Republicans.
With Senator Stevens’ forty years in the Senate, the compelling argument against “professional politicians” appears, yet again, to be supported.