Monday, November 12, 2007



Do you think Republican politicians take $100 bills to sell out their constituents' interests? Or do you think that's too crass and exaggerated and the bribery is more subtle? If you tapped on door #1, you'd be the winner-- although not of the $100 bills. According to today's Washington Post they all went to Alaska politicians last year when they were in Juneau setting taxes-- or lack there of-- for the oil industry.

Ted Stevens tries real hard to portray himself as the slightly whacky old uncle who brings home lots of goodies. He does bring home lots of goodies-- and some even make their way down the chain to benefit normal Alaskans. Most however go no further than the homes of his family and closest associates-- and to those, like oil services executive Bill Allen, who have spent untold amounts bribing him and Congressman Don Young over the years. And although Stevens and Young may be the senior crooks in Alaska politics, you would be hard put to find an Alaska Republican politician who wasn't on the take-- and on tape being on the take.

The FBI has some great tapes. And with the Writers Guild strike looking like it may last a long time, we may have to depend on them for entertainment. In fact only the most creative-- in a childish kind of way-- would come up with lines like these Republican legislators. Pete Kott, the former Speaker of Alaska's House of Representatives bragged to Stevens' Veco pal Allen (as Allen was counting out the cash), "I had to cheat, steal, beg, borrow and lie. Exxon's happy. BP's happy. I'll sell my soul to the devil." Yes, we know; that's a basic tenet of the contemporary Republican Party "philosophy" but what the rest of us are worried about is that crooked Republican pols are selling out our children and grandchildren for their self-enrichment. When FBI agents broke into Speaker Kott's home they found tens of thousands of dollars-- in neatly stacked hundred dollar bills. They also have tapes of him complaining he mixed up the viagra and pain killers-- drugs-- that were part of his package of bribes.

Don Young has spent nearly half a million dollars in legal fees so far just to keep from being indicted. Veco has his #1 campaign contributor-- for the last 3 decades. We've been following Stevens' case as it's unfolded, even since, while pleading guilty to myriad bribery and conspiracy charges, Allen admitted "that almost a quarter of a million dollars in consulting fees" paid to Stevens' crooked son and political heir, Ben, "was in fact bribery." Ben was the bag man for his father. When he needed federal intervention, you paid off Ben and you got Ted.

And the rot in the Alaska GOP went further than just selling it's soul to the devil and the oil companies. The Stevens family was demanding huge pay-offs from Alaska's fishing industry-- and is now under investigation from the National Marine Fisheries Sevice-- as well as the FBI, Department of Justice and IRS. And "former representative Tom Anderson last month was sentenced to five years for taking money from a consultant for a company hoping to build a prison in Alaska; the consultant was working undercover for the FBI. The Republican lawmaker's only previous brush with the law came when his girlfriend, a fellow legislator, summoned police as they fought over bowling scores."

Alaskans are happy that they pay no state income tax. In fact, every resident got a check from the state government-- based on oil revenues-- for $1,654 this year. It would have been considerably higher if Republican politicians hadn't taken such mammoth cuts and cut such sweet deals for the oil companies, perhaps ten times bigger in fact!

Other corrupt Republicans in the Senate, knowing full well that their own time in the dock is likely to come sooner or later, have opened their wallets for Stevens' defense fund. Some estimate that his legal bills will run into the millions as he tries to worm his way out of bribery charges that make Duke Cunningham look some a choir boy.
The Alaska senator has more than $1 million in campaign cash and enjoyed tens of thousands of dollars in support from political action committees and campaign funds controlled by his fellow GOP lawmakers. This despite an FBI raid on his house and court testimony that an oil contractor paid employees to renovate the senator's home.

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch led the way, donating $10,000 from his political action committee and another $4,000 from his campaign fund. Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas and Kit Bond of Missouri each added $10,000 from their political action committees, according to campaign reports released Friday.

...Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott's political action committee donated $5,000 and Colorado Sen. Wayne Allard's campaign chipped in $4,000. In all, the Stevens campaign raised more than $463,000 since July 1, making it one of the senator's most successful fundraising quarters.

In Washington one filthy hand washes the other and contributing to each other's PACs helps these Inside the Beltway crooks avoid the campaign finance laws they themselves write.

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