Tuesday, July 29, 2008

BREAKING NEWS: Republicrook Ted Stevens Finally Indicted


Happy anniversary, Ted! It was just one year ago that the FBI raided his house in Girdwood, a house that had a lot of work done on it by some companies the corrupt Alaska senator has been doing quite a few favors for-- at taxpayer expense. It has long been speculated that Stevens was at the pinnacle of the criminal organization that the Alaska GOP has become. Still, no one expected him to be indicted before his son Ben. But this morning an Alaska grand jury handed down 7 counts against Ted Stevens. Stevens' shenanigans with VECO, the oil services company, are likely to bring down much of the Alaska Republican Party and it is expected that Congressman Don Young will also be indicted. Stevens is the 8th Republican elected official indicted on corruption charges in Alaska this year.

Even before this indictment, the latest polling shows Anchorage's Democratic Mayor, Mark Begich, beating him by a significant 9 point margin. Alaskans have been grumbling that since the myriad investigations of their senior senator have begun, he's lost a tremendous amount of clout in Washington and can no longer be counted on to deliver pork for the state. He had already announced that he will not be attending the Republican Convention in St. Paul in September, although it is unlikely that he will be in prison that soon. McCain's standard stump speech attacks Stevens' (and Young's) Bridge To Nowhere in an attempt to mislead his audiences into thinking these two crooked Republicans could be Democrats. The Alaska website RetireTed.com has all the facts anyone needs to know who wants to bet on how many years he'll be spending in the federal penitentiary.

This morning Dan Froomkin penned a searing report for the Washington Post on the Culture of Corruption and how "the big fish keep swimming away." He was referring to the Justice Department investigation which may snare Monica Goodling but probably not Alberto Gonzalez, let alone the real perps, Karl Rove and George Bush. Froomkin is correct, of course, although Ted Stevens' indictment, conviction and incarceration will go a few steps towards making the point that the Culture of Corruption is not, and has never been, about a few bad apples.


Here's the .pdf file of the actual indictment. MSNBC has some of the specifics.
Sen. Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican senator and a figure in Alaska politics since before statehood, has been indicted on seven counts of falsely reporting hundreds of thousands of dollars in services he received from a company that helped renovate his home.

Stevens, 84, has been dogged by a federal investigation into whether he pushed for fishing legislation that also benefited his son, an Alaska lobbyist.

From May 1999 to August 2007, prosecutors said Stevens concealed "his continuing receipt of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of things of value from a private corporation."

The indictment released Tuesday said the items included: home improvements to his vacation home in Alaska, including a new first floor, garage, wraparound deck, plumbing, electrical wiring; as well as car exchanges, a Viking gas grill, furniture and tools.

...Prosecutors said Stevens "took multiple steps to continue" receiving things from oil services company VECO Corp., and its founder, Bill Allen.

At the time, the indictment says, Allen and other VECO employees were soliciting Stevens for "multiple official actions...knowing that Stevens could and did use his official position and his office on behalf of VECO during that same time period."

VECO's requests included funding and other aid for the oil services company's projects and partnerships in Pakistan and Russia.

Stevens is the ranking member on the bribery-prone Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. GOP rules dictate that now that he's been indicted he has to step down. The second ranking member-- one who never goes to any committee meetings-- is another Republican who has a history of taking a great deal of money from companies that have special interest concerns in front of his committees, John W. McCain.


According to this afternoon's Hill Stevens has stepped down from the ranking member positions on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. He's also on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee but he's not leaving any of the committees so that one-- which, under the chairmanship of Joe Lieberman, does nothing anyway-- he'll still be serving on. Thankfully, he's no loner on the Senate Ethics Committee. [WEDNESDAY UPDATE From CongressDaily: Republican Senate aides involved in committee discussions said Senate Appropriations ranking member Thad Cochran would fill Stevens' slot as ranking member on the Defense Appropriations panel and Hutchison is expected to become ranking member of the Commerce Committee. Hutchison will be appointed in a caretaker role she would relinquish if Stevens returns, but one of the aides said, "He's not coming back. He's toast."]

David Donnelly, director of Campaign Money Watch, is aware that this is far from another bad apple, but a part of the political Culture of Corruption that pervades Washington.
"Washington breeds scandal like a swamp breeds mosquitoes. That's why today's long-awaited indictment of Sen. Ted Stevens is also an indictment of Washington's pay-to-play politics. It's time to drain the swamp by getting our elected officials and candidates off the fundraising treadmill – and with all the scandals surrounding Alaskan politicians, whoever the state's voters elect this November ought to lead the charge for real reform.

"With that said, there is a primary election around the corner in Alaska. Sen. Stevens owes it to the people of Alaska, who he's represented for 40 years, to either resign before the primary, or commit to running in November if he wins his party's nomination. He should not play politics with the voter's decision in late August by resigning shortly after a primary victory, like Tom DeLay did in Texas."

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At 10:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While Senator "Tubes" deserves to be indicted, I would have preferred it to happen after he were renominated to his Senate race. Now it is more likely that he will be replaced as the candidate and at least a bit less likely that Begich wins the seat.

At 11:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ABOUT TIME...Frogwalkin...Frogwalking...

Maybe he wants that old Ford back anyway...
"He also was accused of failing to report swapping an old Ford for a new Land Rover to be driven by one of his children."

Ok, he is toast, loses his committeeships, primary, etc...IS this worse than poor Martha Stewart? Is this crook going to do time?

Maybe Top Gun Duke Cunningham can show him how the showers work?

At 2:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What are the chances that he is convicted before January 20th so that Shrub can pardon him?

At 8:36 PM, Blogger tech98 said...

Remeber Ted, the federal prison system isn't like a truck, it's a series of tubes.

Will they rename Anchorage airport now?
This is why you don't name stuff after politicians until they've been dead for ten years.

At 2:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He entered an "innocent" plea today; any surprises? Every corrupt GOPer caught so far has claimed they were innocent, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. That's what arrogance and thinking one is above the law brings on. Lock him up where he belongs!



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