Thursday, July 31, 2008

Kicking A Crooked Senator-- And Cash Cow-- When He's Down


Susan Collins giving up her share of the VECO loot

As we saw a couple days ago, most Republicans senators participated in a massive money laundering scheme with Ted Stevens in which he would get bribes from VECO and other special interest corporations and then spread that around in $5,000 and $10,000 chunks through his PAC. Then many of those senators would kick back a portion, as "donations," to Stevens. You won't hear about that on CNN or ABC or Fox, but it shows up in the boring, duty old FEC reports. What you did get from today though was news that another recipient of tainted money from Stevens was getting rid of it. Joining the panicked rush to divest themselves of Steven's bribes, John McCain donated the most recent $5,000 he got from Stevens to charity.

In the last couple days, other Republican crooks shamed into giving up the dough have included Susan Collins (R-ME), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Norm Coleman (R-MN), Liddy Dole (R-NC), an especially corrupt Gordon Smith (R-OR), Nebraska Senate candidate (and ex-cabinet secretary under Bush) Mike Johanns, Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA). The really gargantuan laundered money that Stevens pumped into the NRSC (the GOP Senate caucus' criminal operation) isn't being returned and donated to charity, unless you consider shady Inside the Beltway operatives "charity." And John Barrasso (R-WY) says he won't give back the bribe money Stevens gave him. Although the corruption-prone and always disingenuous McCain was always happy to begin his stump speech with an attack on Steven's "Bridge to Nowhere" (and implying Stevens wasn't a Republican), McCain greedily and unquestioningly gobbled up his share of the VECO bribes and voted for VECO's special interests in return. Today he was quick to throw Stevens under the bus, reminding voters that he never liked the crusty old senator-- Stevens, like electricity, is even older than McCain-- and that they often clashed over Stevens' insatiable avarice.

I would exactly liken them to a bunch of Judases, after all the implication about Stevens would be 180 degrees at odds with the reality, but his Republican pals, in quickly divesting themselves of the tainted money he's been giving them, are indicating that... well, that they believe the money is tainted. In this morning's Washington Post Dana Milbank paints a portrait of senatorial sympathy. The participants in the Culture of Corruption-- and you could probably count the senators who aren't on your two hands and a foot-- feel terribly for their crooked old colleague brought low. It could have been almost any of them. The campaign finance system itself is so jiggered to favor rich special interests that it is almost impossible for a Senator not to become a criminal. Speaking of which, Stevens trial begins September 24-- and he wants it over before the election (and before he's charged with other criminal activities).

My friend Roland has been in Maine for the last 2 weeks and he called yesterday and told me that every time he turns on the TV or radio he hears Susan Collins ads bragging how "independent" and "moderate" she is. She's neither. Perhaps the $20,000 in bribe money she got from Stevens, which Tom Allen shamed her into getting rid of, will mean a few less ads. But Tom needs the help to compete with the hundreds of thousands of dollars Susan Collins accepted from other special interests whose agendas she was been pushing forward. Interested in honest government that represents ordinary American families, not rich corporate interests? We need to get rid of crooks like Ted Stevens and Susan Collins-- even if it was just the system that made 'em do it-- and replace them with men and women of high moral character who won't give in to these temptations. Please consider a contribution to the election campaign of Maine's honest congressman, Tom Allen on the Blue America ActBlue page.


Stevens mostly gave to fellow senators-- but every now and then he would run into a House remember with a big enough FOR SALE sign on his ass that he figured it would be worth the investment of some of VECO's dirty dollars. Stevens was a major supporter of the DRILL Act which would force oil companies to drill on leased federal lands or lose the leases. Stevens only paid off 14 members of the House-- and Garrett was one of them. Now Garrett, already considered one of the 6 least ethical members of the Congress not yet indicted, refuses to divest himself of the tainted money.

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At 1:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you'd really enjoy this video of Ted Stevens' wiretapped phone call:


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