Patterico's Pontifications

7/29/2008

Alaska Senator Ted Stevens Indicted (Updated)

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 11:07 am



[Guest post by DRJ]

The Justice Department announced the indictment of Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) on seven counts of false statements for “failing to disclose thousands of dollars in services he received” for home renovations from May 1999 through August 2007 from oil services company VECO Corp., and its founder, Bill Allen:

“The indictment unsealed Tuesday says 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 a Viking gas grill, furniture and tools. 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.”

The indictment also alleges Stevens used his position as a Senator to assist VECO projects with funding and federal grants during the same time period.

In fairness, these charges must be proved against Sen. Stevens but if they are, good riddance. It’s always a good time to sweep out corruption, and I hope everyone in Congress, government and business gets the message.

NOTE: In May 2007, Allen and an officer of VECO Corporation pleaded guilty to bribing Sen. Stevens and other Alaska lawmakers.

UPDATE 1: Here’s the indictment.

UPDATE 2: Sen. Stevens filed for re-election in February 2008 and is the GOP candidate for the Alaska Senate seat in the November election. Kos at Daily Kos speculates whether the GOP will be able to replace Stevens and, if so, with whom. Maybe Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

— DRJ

77 Responses to “Alaska Senator Ted Stevens Indicted (Updated)”

  1. I’ve wondered about this jackass since his 9-figure Bridge To Nowhere…

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  2. I guess we won’t be playing “name That Party” today. I will not miss Stevens, and I’m not the least bit surprised that such a porker would be taking some bacon for himself. Don’t let the door hit you where the good Lord split you.

    And don’t nobody mention how Bu$hco’s totally politicized DOJ just went gunning for its party’s senior Senator. Don’t wanna upset the narrative.

    Pablo (99243e)

  3. Happy Day — one of the enduring historical anomalies is the hand-holding relationship between Sen. Inouye and Sen. Stevens on just about every issue. This relationship goes back 40 years between them, when as Senators for the two newest states, they decided to always support the legislative initiatives of the others. Given that they were in different parties, it has always been the case that one or the other was in a key position on the Senate Appropriations Committee, and its key spending subcommittees.

    Good riddance.

    WLS (8b22c0)

  4. NOTE: In May 2007, Allen and an officer of VECO Corporation pleaded guilty to bribing Sen. Stevens and other Alaska lawmakers.

    I remember one case long ago where one guy was convicted of paying a bribe the other guy was acquitted of taking.

    Not saying that is what is going to – or even should – happen, just retelling an old memory from the dregs of the memory closet.

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  5. He’s not being charged (at least today) with taking a bribe. He is being charged with making false statements to investigators, appearing not to have learned from the Martha Stewart example.

    It doesn’t seem to matter what you do, what matters is that you tell the investigators what they think you did, even if their thinking is not correct.

    htom (412a17)

  6. Good riddance. See ya’ !

    JD (75f5c3)

  7. hooray!

    assistant devil's advocate (9b7737)

  8. Drum…
    You’re thinking of Cong. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) who was impeached as a Fed. Dist. Judge, convicted by the Senate, and elected to Congress by his caring constituents.

    It looks like Sen. Stevens has jumped off of that bridge – I wonder who is atty was during the investigation, or did he counsel himself?

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  9. I’m surprised that the Democrats trying to convict Gonzales aides of something because they supposed screened out the liberals and Democrats for the jobs they were filling.

    Um, what about the Clinton years where all they did was fire people to fill their jobs with only loyal Liberal Democrat Clintonistas?

    Continuing, why aren’t top Democrats investigated like Conyers and Rangel? Seems like they are just as corrupt as Stevens.

    PCD (5c49b0)

  10. Goodbye to one of the most egregious porkers in the Senate – I refer to the constant misuse of the notorious earmarks, of course. Now, if we could only do something about Byrd…but we can hope that “Abscam” Murtha will be broomed out shortly as well.

    Dmac (416471)

  11. hmmm, comments no longer appear, looks like i’ve been banned or otherwise disciplined, so i will bid you my most gracious adieu. off to work in meatspace!

    assistant devil's advocate (9b7737)

  12. “…and is the GOP candidate for the Alaska Senate seat in the November election.”

    You may want to double check that, since Powerline and Volkh are both saying he’s a candidate in the Republican primary, in August.

    Born Free (911106)

  13. 4

    “I remember one case long ago where one guy was convicted of paying a bribe the other guy was acquitted of taking.”

    Maybe Teapot Dome but it was the other way around.

    “Albert Fall was found guilty of bribery in 1929, fined $100,000 and sentenced to one year in prison, making him the first Presidential cabinet member to go to prison for his actions in office. Harry Sinclair, who refused to cooperate with the government investigators, was charged with contempt, fined $100,000, and received a short sentence for tampering with a jury. Edward Doheny was acquitted in 1930 of attempting to bribe Fall.”

    James B. Shearer (fc887e)

  14. That was it, thanks! :-)

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  15. “Um, what about the Clinton years where all they did was fire people to fill their jobs with only loyal Liberal Democrat Clintonistas?”

    Career staff at DOJ?

    afall (3cd17c)

  16. Career staff at DOJ?

    All 93 of the U.S. Attorneys. Every single one of them. To be replaced with their own people.

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  17. My impression was that the primary hasn’t been held yet in Alaska, but that Stevens *had been* the prohibitive favorite (as the incumbent).

    That could change now.

    aphrael (9e8ccd)

  18. “And don’t nobody mention how Bu$hco’s totally politicized DOJ just went gunning for its party’s senior Senator. Don’t wanna upset the narrative.”

    Clearly they can’t be politicized if they went after bridge to nowhere Ted Stevens.

    “All 93 of the U.S. Attorneys.”

    Those aren’t career staff. Those are political.

    afall (357044)

  19. Careful with that “Bridge Nowhere” stuff. While it is catchy and has curency in this case, the same sort of slap was used by critics of many other bridge projects: The Brooklyn Bridge, the San Francisco Bay Bridge, the Mackinaw Bridge, and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel come to mind.

    I’m not defending Stevens. But, I’m uneasy about a smug rejection of the bridge project largly because Stevens supported it. After all, the Alaska Purchase itself was once dismissed as a foolish waste of taxpayer’s money.

    PS: Ropelight was once known as Black Jack.

    Ropelight (2af3e2)

  20. Political appointees like US Attorneys are always appointed based on their political associations. There are a couple hundred such positions in DOJ, and its not inappropriate to ask candidates for those positions about their political views. All the people that hold those positions are usually replaced when the WH changes parties — though many find jobs in career positions.

    There are thousands of career positions at DOJ, and it is a violation of law and DOJ policy to fill those positions on the basis of political views.

    That said, after 8 years of the Clinton Administration, the career positions at DOJ were heavily tilted towards liberals. Its not hard for a US Attorney, who is a political appointee, to discern the political views of potential hires without being as blatant as Goodling was.

    For example, you could simply note the membership in the ACLU on the resume. You could simply note participation in law school programs that tend to attract liberals — like civil rights projects or environmental projects.

    Did the pendulum swing back during the 8 years of the Bush Admin? Of course it did. The only difference is that Goodling is an idiot and did so blatantly.

    WLS (8b22c0)

  21. “All 93 of the U.S. Attorneys”

    Those aren’t career staff. Perfectly normal for appointees to get replaced. Very not normal for career hires to get asked about their politics.

    afall (357044)

  22. Aphrael #16,

    I’m just not motivated enough about Steven’s Senate seat to go look up the details. I’m glad you are on top of it, and thanks for your helpful comment.

    DRJ (0af395)

  23. But, I’m uneasy about a smug rejection of the bridge project largly because Stevens supported it.

    It wasn’t “just because Stevens supported it”. It was because with the money that the bridge would cost, you could have bought each and every resident of that little island a new helicopter and a cabin cruiser. It was also because he was actually threatening those Senators who were starting to question the actual need for such a bridge.

    I didn’t know that Stevens was a crook – I just thought he was a jackass.

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  24. OK, reading the indictment, he’s not actually being indicted for making false statements to investigators. He’s being indicted for failing to report the bribes on his financial disclosure forms for the years 2000-2006, one indictment for each year.

    So I wonder, would he have been legally OK if he’d just reported the bribes?

    Skip (ba6438)

  25. “You could simply note participation in law school programs that tend to attract liberals — like civil rights projects or environmental projects.”

    And even then, you might not be making political selections — civil rights experience would be a fine qualification for hiring in the civil rights division. DOJ might also do work on environmental law with the EPA.

    But when an able anti-terrorism prosecutor is passed over because he’s married to a democrat? Major problem.

    afall (357044)

  26. And people think Larry Craig is the black sheep.

    Icy Truth (f54eb3)

  27. It might be that its too late for anyone else to file to run in the August primary, and Stevens has no challenger.

    WLS (8b22c0)

  28. I just read yesterday that an Alaskan businessman (Vickers I think?) had just made a big ad buy of anti-Stevens ads – I believe looking to unseat him in the primary? Can’t remember where I read it now – maybe I’ll search around

    Bob Loblaw (6d485c)

  29. WLS: Bob Loblaw is right; there is a primary contender who was believed to be a long shot.

    Five ThirtyEight says that Vic Vickers, the only other Republican on the ballot, is unlikely to do well in a general election, and comments in that thread indicate that the filing deadline has passed.

    aphrael (9e8ccd)

  30. DRJ: I follow a bunch of polling-related websites, which means that I have more information about contested senate seats than I really usually know what to do with. :)

    aphrael (9e8ccd)

  31. Then I believe Palin can appoint, but just because you’re idicted doesn’t mean you can’t run…

    I mean, Jefferson got re-elected…

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  32. Scott: you’re right as far as it goes, but … polls have shown Stevens losing for months; it’s unlikely that being indicted will *improve* his standing.

    I would expect the party to be investigating ways to gently nudge him aside in favor of someone else.

    aphrael (9e8ccd)

  33. Thanks Aphrael, saves me hunting around

    Bob Loblaw (6d485c)

  34. I would vote for “baseball bat to the head, and a ‘get the fuck outta town‘” message. :)

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  35. Drum…
    The bridge wasn’t proposed as a benifit of the residents of the island, but to increase access to the airport located on the island for residents of the city (Ketchikan?) and those people who needed to fly into and out-of there.
    One thing most people in the L-48 don’t realize, is that there is no real highway system in AK, except aircraft.
    You get around that state by flying!
    In fact, there are more float-equipped planes in AK than in any other state, if not in the rest of the L-48 combined). Lakes and rivers are the infrastructure of the AK transportation system.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  36. ‘Careful with that “Bridge Nowhere” stuff.’

    In this case, the moniker fits, to a tee:

    http://www.heritage.org/Research/Budget/wm889.cfm

    The vast majority of the state’s citizens didn’t want it, but the island’s (less than 20,000 pop. total) residents were whining about their slow ferry service (less than 30 minutes to the mainland). I’ve visited Seattle many times over the years, and no one’s whining about the extensive ferry services there, and Bainbridge Island alone has more people than the island in Alaska. Idiotic, moronic and incredibly wasteful pork barrelling by the disgraceful Senator from Alaska. Stevens is emblematic for a lot of things that have gone wrong with the GOP Congress over the past 8 years.

    Dmac (416471)

  37. #31 – AD:

    My whole experience with Alaska was watching every episode of “Northern Exposure”.

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  38. Another Drew – you’re right, but the vast and mostly empty (in terms of population) areas of Alaska will never be served adequately by a road network. Trying to keep most of the few highways there in good condition is almost cost prohibitive, given the extreme weather conditions there.

    Dmac (416471)

  39. BTW, Northern Exposure was filmed in Canada, I believe – much better exchange rates back then.

    Dmac (416471)

  40. Which was why I pointed it out. I was being funny.

    I thought. :-(

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  41. Drumwaster,

    It was still a great show.

    DRJ (0af395)

  42. Yeh, I know. I was there for a few years back in the 60’s, but I don’t think it would be much different now, just more people.
    Being in Anchorage, it was a big deal to drive up to the Matanuska Valley for an outing. I know that I didn’t have the car to try to go further, nor the emergency stores either.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  43. I’m sure the rules that allowed the Dems to replace the New Jersey crook with another New Jersey crook will not apply to Republicans.

    Kevin Murphy (805c5b)

  44. #22,

    If you’re going to quote me, especially in opposition to my comment, please do so accurately. I’m willing to take the heat for my own opinions, but putting your words is my mouth and then taking me to task isn’t cricket.

    Thanks for your consideration. I usually enjoy your comments and often agree with you.

    Ropelight (2af3e2)

  45. Kevin Murphy: actually, I doubt that. Alaska is a pretty Republican state, and so I think it’s likely that the elections officials could be persuaded to allow it.

    aphrael (9e8ccd)

  46. Sorry, I replaced “largely” with “just”. I still think my point stands.

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  47. “It might be that its too late for anyone else to file to run in the August primary, and Stevens has no challenger.”
    No challenger? Other sources say there are 6 on the GOP primary ballot for that office.

    Born Free (911106)

  48. Resign

    Perfect Sense (9d1b08)

  49. Drummer,

    Yes, your point stands, and I already made mine. Now, I’d like to hear from the folks in K-town and anyone else who has an informed opinion or has a direct stake in this issue.

    Stevens support notwithstanding, I’d like to know if the project makes sense to the island’s residents and to the people of Ketchikan.

    Ropelight (2af3e2)

  50. Now, I’d like to hear from the folks in K-town and anyone else who has an informed opinion or has a direct stake in this issue.

    I have a stake in this issue, because it was my tax dollars that he was asking to spend. Yours, too.

    I would rather he would have saved the money and bought all of those people the helicopter/cabin cruiser combo package instead…

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  51. Northern Exposure was filmed in Washington state. The interiors in REdmond and exteriors in Roslyn and Easton.

    Stevens showed what an idiot he is by not wearing blackface, keeping large sums of cash in the freezer and being a rethuglican. You evil neocons are greedy, racist, sex fiend corrupticrats. I denounce you all. Yeah, I know you’re trying to say some dems senators are bought and paid for banking industry, but peripheral advantages should not count. Everyone knows that Bush and Cheney get kickbacks from the egregiously high profits raked in by big American Oil.

    madmax333 (0c6cfc)

  52. Drum…
    Again, the bridge was not for the benefit of the residents of the island…It was for access to the airport located on that island. A benefit for all who will travel to Ketchikan by air.
    The utility of these things sometimes get lost in the soundbites that get attached to them.
    The other “bridge to nowhere” that connected to Anchorage, was a way to eliminate a long, circuitous drive to an area that is important to the City of Anchorage.
    Would it have been better if these appropriations had been handled differently? Probably.
    Would it have made the projects any more useful?
    Doubtful.
    IMHO, I think that there are valid economic arguements for both of these bridges, it is the appropriations process that is the problem.
    In fact, I’m quite confident that without the promise of Federal largeese, AK could have, and might have, found the way to finance these projects out of their oil revenue.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  53. A benefit for all who will travel to Ketchikan by air.

    I still have a tough time accepting the concept that Congress should spend hundreds of millions of dollars to provide a questionable alternative. Next there would be upkeep costs in the tens of millions, and at current rates of income for the ferry, it would take roughly 300 years for the funds to have accumulated without it, which means that the need really isn’t acute.

    A few million to buy a new and larger ferry, and a few more to upgrade the terminals, and you would have save a whole order of magnitude of tax dollars while helping to increase the capacity.

    We’re talking about less than the population of San Bernardino (201K) every YEAR, and an even higher rate of travel on the I-15 corridor between Ontario and Vegas, but Stevens wouldn’t have threatened to quit the Senate over trying to widen the stretch from Barstow to State Line…

    Even at a million dollars a mile, that project would cost less.

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  54. What a mess. Corruption is all ove the place in Washington.

    Aaron (f7972c)

  55. Everyone knows that Bush and Cheney get kickbacks from the egregiously high profits raked in by big American Oil.

    — And it’s convenient that everyone knows this, for it is that knowledge that obviates the need for any concrete proof whatsoever.

    Icy Truth (f54eb3)

  56. #49,

    My use of the words “direct stake” was intended to discourage exactly the sort of “my ox too” sentiments you offer.

    I’m interested in the opinions of those who live in the area and use the airport and ferry between the island and K-town, if such be lurking about. Sorry for the confusion.

    Ropelight (2af3e2)

  57. #54 Sorry, I was channeling Levi and that crowd and just pulled those “facts” out of my ass. But really, if you did a Jay Leno man on the street poll here in barking moonbat Boca Raton, all the conspiracy theories are gospel fact and no one wants to hear about what the previous administration or current socialist Congress opined or even what the international community once bought as the facts. And what is it about some really nice cities, including SF, that sees them overwhelmed with the far left fever swamp adherents?

    madmax333 (0c6cfc)

  58. Ropelight,

    That’s a pretty small group of people, relatively speaking, so there may not be any here. Of course, if I were a bridge supporter, I’d claim they can’t surf the web because they are all waiting for remote island ferries that don’t have internet service.

    DRJ (0af395)

  59. Ropelight:

    I get your point, but I think the gentle people of the island and K-town might have different answers depending on who is expected to pay for the bridge. I know I would.

    In other news, no reference to the “Intertubes”? Until now, that is.

    fat tony (d8011b)

  60. Hey, I’ve read enough of your posts to know where you’re coming from, Max. I was just trying to chime in on that same wavelength.

    Icy Truth (f54eb3)

  61. Well done, fat tony, and I wish I’d thought of that. Plus I had the perfect opportunity in my last comment …

    DRJ (0af395)

  62. This man would be hero in Zimbabwe or any African country.

    love2008 (1b037c)

  63. Such a shame if it’s true.

    TLove (b8e7b4)

  64. I spent a month (February) dogsledding, camping, and hunting. Went from St. Michel’s Island across Norton Sound and the Bering Sea to Nome, and then north to the Arctic Circle. It is cold in Alaska in February.

    JD (5f0e11)

  65. Sounds fun! Poor dogs.

    TLove (b8e7b4)

  66. #62
    If what is true?

    love2008 (1b037c)

  67. #65
    If he did it.

    TLove (b8e7b4)

  68. There is no smoke without fire TLOVE.

    love2008 (1b037c)

  69. Tlove – Poor dogs? They were in heaven. My leader and both of the wheel dogs had completed multiple Iditarods.

    JD (5f0e11)

  70. I meant “those lucky dogs got to spend time with the infamous JD!!”

    TLove (b8e7b4)

  71. Infamous? Are you flirting wuth me? Call me a racist and I am yours forever !!!!

    JD (5f0e11)

  72. Swooning, I am.

    Gamong kwa, dayup.

    JD (5f0e11)

  73. In a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Palin convincingly disclaimed any personal interest in replacing Sen. Stevens.

    In both her oral statements and a press release, she noted that Sen. Stevens “has dedicated his life to the betterment of Alaska,” but she also noted that “News such as this rocks the foundation of our state,” and that she shares “Alaskans’ concern and dismay at this turn of events.” She noted that she had not yet had a chance to read the seven-count indictment. Further:

    We have a respectful relationship — I respect his decades of service that he’s dedicated to the betterment of this state. I’ve spoken on the record before about us perhaps having a difference about the way we deal with Alaskans and speak about issues…. I desire perhaps a different process than the process he’s been used to all these years. Sign of the times, though, changes that are coming: I believe more and more elected officials are going to understand that their constituents desire more, not less, information — especially surrounding an event like today [i.e., the indictment].

    Palin’s reference to her previous statements “on the record” about Sen. Stevens are undoubtedly to her very prominent calls in September 2007 for Stevens to explain his connections to VECO Corp. and other public officials under investigation, indictment, or conviction.

    And while again welcoming the formal investigation being put in motion by state legislators, Gov. Palin again denied any connection between her dismissal of Alaska Department of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan (a political appointee who was offered another state position) and her family’s concerns about Alaska state trooper Mike Wooten (found by a 2005 state police investigation to have used his Taser on his eleven-year-old stepson and to have violated the law by using a deadly firearm to kill a moose out of season). Indeed, she said that she’s ready to speak to investigators “today,” without any need for a subpoena. “I have nothing to hide,” she said.

    Gov. Palin’s record as a consistent foe of government corruption is exemplary, and the dKos kids’ suggestion that she’s involved in some sort of “scandal” is about as persuasive as suggestions that John McCain lacks patriotism. That’s why in the latest polling (taken on July 24-25), she continues to have a public approval rating of 80% among her own constituents.

    McCain/Palin 2008: New energy for America.

    Beldar (0bd1bc)

  74. Beldar, you keep pushing for this, so I must ask…

    What do you have against Gov. Palin, that you should wish such misfortune upon her?

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)


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