For many years, Ted Stevens has been the virtual symbol of corruption in Washington, making himself a multimillionaire while serving in Congress. Despite detailed accounts of the shady dealings of Stevens and his family, Alaskans continued to return him to Washington where he and colleagues like Don Young tarnished the reputation of both houses. He is now a criminally indicted defendant, though the current allegations constitute small change in comparison to some of the past controversies surrounding the Stevens clan. The Stevens indictment is below.
Stevens insists that he is innocent of charges that he lied about receiving gifts worth more than $250,000 from Veco, an Alaska-based energy company on whose behalf he intervened in Washington.
The indictment alleges that Stevens “schemed to conceal” the fact that Veco paid for hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of work on his home.
What is astonishing is the statements of his colleagues. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said i”It’s a sad day for him, us. But I believe in the American system of justice that he is presumed innocent.” I certainly understand the need to be generous but this is hardly a sad day for us. For those of us who have been critics of the laughable congressional ethics system, this is a very good day indeed.
Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, said, “I have known Ted Stevens for 28 years, and I have always found him to be impeccably honest.” Now that one has a great number of heads spinning. The word honest, let alone impeccable, has never before been used in the same sentence as Ted Stevens.
The indictment of Stevens should concentrate the minds of Alaskans on the horrific record of its delegation. It is one thing to elect state officials who say that they would “sell their soul” to the devil for oil companies, here, but they should not externalize such corruption to the rest of country in the form of people like Stevens or Young. It is a poor statement on a state that it takes an indictment to reform a long-criticized delegation. I come from Chicago and lived under the original Daley machine, so this is not unique to Alaska. However, to have both Stevens and Young from the same small delegation is quite an indictment of its own for any state.
For the full story, click here.
For a copy of the indictment, click here.