CORRUPTION RUNS WILD IN THE GREAT WHITE NORTH-- TED STEVENS MAY NEED A GERIATRIC PRISON CELL
Ben and Ted, Alaskans with crooked genes
I was in DC last week and some bloggers had a little get together. Turns out half the bloggers in DC live in this one giant building. It was cool. I was worried when people who were too drunk to walk straight said they were going home but then just got off the elevator at another floor instead of going to a car. But one guy who apparently didn't have too much to drink-- he sounded Australian but he's from Alaska-- told me this incredible story about corruption in Alaska. I wasn't sure what to make out of it. I mean, everbody knows that Don Young is one of the most corrupt sacks of sleaze in the whole Congress and that ex-Governor Frank Murkowski practically made Ernie Fletcher look almost honest, but this Australian Alaskan told me that virtually the whole GOP up there is drowning in bribery scams and graft. (He also turned me on to a wonderful book about Alaska... sort of, that I'm reading now: Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union.
So it shouldn't have surprised me one bit when today's Anchorage Daily News announced that the FBI is investigating that crazy old Senator Ted Stevens. And just like I was told, it runs in the family. The FBI is in the middle of a gigantic Alaska political corruption investigation that is believed could have almost half the elected Republicans in the state in prison! And in the center of the sleaze has been Senator Steven's son and once political heir, Ben, who accepted a quarter million dollar bribe from a GOP-connected oil industry company.
The wide-ranging federal inquiry surfaced in August when agents raided six legislative offices, including those of then-Senate President Ben Stevens, one of Ted Stevens' sons. The FBI said at the time that it also had executed a search warrant in Girdwood [Ted Steven's shady home extensively remodeled in return for political favors worth millions], among other places, although the location of that search has never been officially disclosed.
Veco, an oil-field service company that has long been a strong lobbying presence in Juneau, was one of the early targets of the agents, according to some of the search warrants that became public. On May 7, the company's longtime chief executive, Bill Allen, and a vice president, Rick Smith, pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy, bribery and tax charges. They are now cooperating with authorities.
The investigation spread to the commercial fishing industry, including Ben Stevens' consulting clients and associates. Federal subpoenas served on fishing companies in Seattle last year sought records concerning both Ben and Ted Stevens.
Four current or former Alaska state lawmakers have been indicted and are awaiting trial on corruption charges, and an Anchorage lobbyist has pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges.
And just for the record it isn't just Stevens and his family that are taking massive bribes from VECO executives. Needless to say, Don Young has his snout in the pot, as does Lisa Murkowski (another scion, like Ben Stevens, where the Republicrookery runs in the family). And outside of Alaska it turns out VECO has been spreading around the lard to corrupt senators like John Ensign (R-NV), Arlen Specter (R-PA), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Richard Burr (R-NC), David Vitter (R-LA), Norm Coleman (R-MN), Jim DeMint (R-SC), John Sununu (R-NH), John Thune (R-SD) and ex-Senator and major criminal still at large, Conrad Burns (R-MT). Oh, and Republican hopeful Mike McGavick.
It is widely thought that Stevens, the longest serving Republican in US Senate history, and suffering from an advanced stage of dimentia is unlikely to spend any time in prison no matter if he's found guilty or not. Or has he just been making believe he's more senile than John McCain and Pete Domenici combined? But even the Bush Regime-- sure to turn out to have been the most corrupt in American history-- claims that Stevens is so filthy that they can't allow him to get involved with picking the next U.S. Attorney for Alaska. He'll never notice-- as long as they let him build some more bridges.