Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sen. Ted Steven (R) Of Alaska Indicted

From Politico:

Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), a giant of Senate politics and a legend in Alaska, has been indicted on seven federal criminal charges accusing him of failing to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of home renovations and other gifts from VECO Corp., an Alaskan oil company that in turn asked for favors in the Senate.

These indictments have been headed down the pike for some time. The Republicans are in lockdown, and even the Democrats are shy with comments. The Senate is a clubby group, or is the word collegial? Whatever.

Sen. Stevens may be remembered for his attempt to get an earmark for millions of dollars to build a bridge to an island with 20 inhabitants. However, my fondest memory of him is his description of the "series of tubes" through which information on the internet runs, thus suggesting the neologism "intertubes".

By law, the senator is not obliged to resign because of the indictments, but according to Republican rules of the Senate, he should.

Stevens son Ben has been indicted, too. Maybe it's a genetic thing and not really their fault that they strayed off the straight and narrow. Will the Republicans break some sort of historical record for corruption by federal officials within a two-term presidential period? He was on the Senate Committee for Rules and Administration. You'd think he'd know better.

Thanks to The Wayward Episcopalian for the tip.


  1. Ben wasn't the only one. A whole slew of GOP state legislators up that way got nailed. Stevens, btw, is an Episcopalian, so upon hearing the news, a former staffer in our office had to give it a spiritual twist: "Let justice roll down like mighty caribou!"

    Having just interned in the Senate, it can be clubby, but there can also be a lot of animosity. Take Coburn - everyone's after him these days, no tears would be shed if he went to jail. With Stevens, though, he's been their longer than almost anyone else, and for all his prickliness towards staffers, is apparently very warm and kind in his relationships with other senators. He isn't a fake DC friend, but a real friend. I think it's enough that Dodd, Durbin, and others declined to defend him; it's a lot to ask that they jump on him, as well. Those friendships are real. They'll jump on some scandals, just not this one. I'm not saying that it's right, just that the reasons it's wrong are understandable.

    But as you can tell from my own blog, I won't share in that restraint. YAAAAAAHOOOOOO!!!!!! Send that corrupt coot a' packin'!

  2. I believe Republican Senate rules are not that he should resign from the Senate, but that he must resign his leadership posts. OCICBW.

  3. WE, OCYCBR:

    As required by Senate Republican Conference rules, Stevens said he has “temporarily relinquished” his vice chairmanship of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and his ranking-member position on several subcommittees.

    Thanks. I stand corrected.

    As to the clubbiness, I think perhaps they go a bit overboard. The Democrats in the Senate, with the exception of a few, have too often been a disappointment to me during this session.

    I gather that few tears would be shed if David Vitter, my senator, were to depart the Senate.

  4. There may be a few more than 20 on the island. It's where the airport in Ketchikan is. Of course, when you land in Ketchikan, you just trot down the path and onto a ferryboat. Much more sensible than cars and taxi. It makes no sense to me that a bridge is required. Alaska's "highways" are ferries.

    But logic and the Fed? Well, consider this: Hawai'i has interstate highways. (And so does Alaska).

    Think about it.

  5. IT, OCYCBR. I didn't look it up. I've been to Ketchikan from a cruise ship. It's an amazing little town hanging on the side of a mountain with, I believe, only 15 miles of roads. I didn't fly in, so I didn't go to the island. I see no need for a bridge. I'm fairly sure that no interstate runs through Ketchikan. I heard that the roads come to an abrupt stop on either end of the town. OCICBW.

    What a mistake-laden post this turned out to be. Oh well. It keeps me humble.

  6. I believe Steven is the senior Senate Republican - meaning that when the Republicans had the majority, he was President Pro Tempore, and third in line of succession (after VP Cheney and the Speaker of the House).

  7. Malcolm, thanks for the info. If Cheney had become president, he would have had to come out of his bunker. On second thought, maybe not. He makes his own rules. I guess he could have governed from the bunker. Whoops! He already does.

  8. Having been 14 months in rainy Ketchikan I can tell you a trip to the airport via the Bridge to Nowhere would have taken most more time than using the airport ferry.

    My view -- politics in Alaska is mostly corrupt possibly because water has been replaced by an unbelievable alcohol consumption rate.

  9. Anonymous, thanks for the info about the time element in the bridge v. ferry issue, thank you for visiting. If you come back, please make up a name and sign your comment.

    So alcohol is the new water.


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