Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Environment Wrecker Soon on His Way to Jail

Alaska Senator Ted Stevens has been indicted on seven counts of federal corruption.

It turns out that Stevens has received more than $250,000 in gifts and services from VECO Corp., a powerful oil services contractor, and its executives in exchange for tens of millions of dollars worth of your tax dollars.

And Stevens was not alone. In a previous probe, Alaska Congressman Don Young was also nailed for taking money from this same oil services contactor.

Stevens' indictment further damages Republican prospects in the November elections, and promises to be a windfall for Democrats who have always suspected key Republican leaders are on the take from big oil. Not for nothing was Stevens named one of 2008's "Dirty Dozen" by the League of Conservation Voters. As LCV President Gene Karpinski notes, “For forty years in the Senate, Ted Stevens has stood in the way of progress. Today, he literally lives in the house that oil built.”

So far, the Veco oil investigation has resulted in seven criminal convictions, including three former state lawmakers, two former oil executives, a lobbyist, and the chief of staff of former Alaska Governor Frank Murkowski.

The Justice Department said Stevens would not be arrested and would be allowed to turn himself in. >> To read the indictment (PDF)


homespunheretic said...

As an Alaskan, I am very glad to hear this. Because the community is so small up here, you hear about the corruption and whatnot all the time, but no one really seems to be in a position to do anything about it. In an election when the best thing that can be said about a candidate is "well, he's better than all the rest" it's good to know that some of this idiocy is finally surfacing.

This state lives and breathes oil and gas. It's truly obscene. I can't wait to move back to Virginia.

Anonymous said...

Apparently Alaskans got what they voted for time and time again. It's a shame it took the Justice Department to take out this crook instead the good people of Alaska voting him out of office.

M Evans

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Sen. Ted Stevens pleaded not guilty on Thursday to federal corruption charges that allege he falsified Senate documents to cover up roughly $250,000 gifts from a powerful Alaska oil contractor. Stevens is the Senate’s longest-serving Republican, and was indicted this week on seven counts of lying on Senate disclosure forms about a major renovation to his ski-community house and other items. He has claimed, of course, that he did not “knowingly” falsify any forms.

It remains to be seen, of course, whether or not Sen. Stevens is guilty. We as the American public have largely already found him guilty in our own minds. Here we have a man who has been in the Senate for 40 years now. He has undeniably made more money than most of us will see over the course of our lifetimes. We look at that, and then look at his “ski home”… and automatically assume he is guilty. We get enraged over the fact that he has so much, yet felt he had to take more. It’s happened so many hundreds of thousands of times over the years… so that makes him guilty as well, right?

Wrong. How can we assume that he’s guilty? Yes, it’s a fact that his ski home was renovated. Yes, it’s a fact that something… somewhere… was misappropriated. But does that mean he knowingly falsified documents, or that he knew the misappropriation was going on?

bestonline323 said...

I’ve been avoiding writing about Senator Stevens’ indictment for a while now. The main reason being I didn’t want emotion to be the deciding factor in how I wrote about the situation. Like many in this state I’m greatly saddened the Senator has been indicted on Federal charges for failing to report gifts from VECO. And like one Alaskan blogger noted, this, instead of the years he’s worked for Alaska, will be his legacy.

We Americans pride ourselves for having peaceful elections. Despite our polarized politics, leaders are elected by the people without violence. Though the process is only practiced by a low percentage in our municipalities (20% in the last municipal elections in Anchorage) states, and the nation as a whole, it’s still our right as Americans to vote in an election if we want to.

Yet, despite our celebrated right to elect our leaders, we’ve never overcame the blight of democracy, corruption. In the past couple of years we’ve seen our fair share of it. Nationally it seems there aren’t many of our senators and congressmen who aren’t being accused of corruption of some sort. Former Rep. Denis Hastert (R-IL) and the Prairie Parkway, Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) and the “freezer money”, and Former Rep Randy Cunningham (R-CA) and the dealings with MZM Inc. are just a few of the many who legislate in the Capitol Building. States and cities aren’t immune to the power of corruption and failure of ethics either. Votes for crack and/or money in Alabama, the thug like mentality of Mayor Kilpatrick of Detroit as he assaulted a police officer arresting one of his friends and lying under oath in another case , and of course the terrible taint of corruption we here in Alaska have seen with our own legislature and VECO.


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PBurns said...

Stealing and cheating is against the law and has been against the law since long before Moses came off the Mountain. Anyone who steal and cheats lies too, and it's never a one-time thing; it's something they've been getting by with their whole lives. The one time part is that one time they got caught. Sure presume innocence. Just be aware that the FBI, controlled by a Republican Attorney General, does not serve warrants and arrest the a republican who is a former head of the Appropriations Committee on a lark, knowing full well that prosecution might tip the Senate to the Democrats. You can be assured the evidence is on tape, on paper, and in person. And if a jury in Alaska does not convict under those circumstances, then law and democracy mean very little.