So I was on my regular Tuesday "Democratic Hour" on Cary Carrigan's Show, KUDO 1080, with Alaska Dem Leader Patti Higgins and we had just ended. Suddenly, producer Rishi Maharaj got a phone call saying that "Stevens" had been indicted. Rishi asked "Ben?" but the caller yelled "NO, TED!!!!"
None of us believed it.
Immediately afterwards, CNN top-of-the-hour news came on with, you guessed it, breaking news that Ted Stevens had been indicted!!
We were stunned.
Here is the FBI/DOJ press conference:
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Republican Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska was indicted Tuesday on charges that he lied about receiving gifts worth more than $250,000 from an Alaska-based energy company on whose behalf he intervened in Washington.
The indictment, returned Tuesday by a federal grand jury in Washington, says the veteran lawmaker "schemed to conceal" the fact that Veco paid for hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of work on his home.
The indictment follows a wide-ranging investigation into ties between the company and lawmakers in Alaska.
The indictment does not accuse Stevens of accepting bribes, Matt Friedrich, the acting assistant attorney general, emphasized in a news conference announcing the charges.
"Bribery is not charged in this case," he said, adding that such a charge "requires proof of a specific quid pro quo. This indictment does not allege that."
That is significant because bribery is very hard to prove. However, "making false statements on Federal documents" is one of the violations every new Federal employee is told that if proven would get them automatically fired, if not jailed and fined.
Think of it as Capone getting busted for tax evasion.
The Anchorage Daily News has the official documents on their website.
Per the ADN article:
With the felony indictment, Stevens, an icon in Alaska politics, becomes by far the most powerful politician charged in a broad investigation into corruption of Alaska public officials that began more than four years ago and that has so far led to convictions of three state legislators and charges against two others.
At a news conference in Washington today, Matthew Friedrich, acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's criminal division, said Stevens would be allowed to turn himself in. Stevens' attorney, Brendan Sullivan of Washington, was notified of the indictment this morning, Friedrich said.
Reading the charges made me sad and angry at the same time.
I'm sad because this is a perfect example how power and money can corrupt a once great man--and I say that very seriously.
I'm angry because I remember when a co-worker (project manager) had become friends with one of the contractors working on one of his projects. The co-worker's truck "blew up" and he had no transport (in the middle of a messy divorce) so this contractor had an extra, really beat-up truck that she lent him. (I saw it--it ran--that was the extent of it.)
I think she lent it to him for no longer than a week.
Sure enough, they opened up a conflict-of-interest investigation that (of course) only turned up that she lent him the truck.
According to the charges, Ted Stevens has been receiving items like free remodeling on a home, a friggin' Land Rover, and a Viking grill from 1999 to 2006. These are just the things that we know of.
Questions I have asked (and have been answered):
1) Can Stevens resign from or can the Republicans pull him off the primary ballot? No.
2) If he wins the primary, can Stevens pull himself off the general election ballot? Yes, up to 48 days before the election.
3) Can the Republicans pull him off of the general election ballot if he doesn't want to go? The general consensus is "no" because the Alaska voters will have spoken in the primary. However, I haven't seen the related statute on that.
Question I have asked that no one can answer:
Is Ted Stevens the biggest fish or is there someone else out there?
I turned on MSNBC to see their coverage on Stevens. Right now, they are friggin' "all earthquake, all the time"--busily covering a total non-event.
No real damage, no injuries...nothing friggin' happened.
So they are spending all of their time going from county to county talking about how nothing happened in each county and what services were not effected.
I want to scream.
Labels: 7 counts, Alaska, Bill Allen, chalet, charging document, corruption, DOJ, FBI, Girdwood, grand jury, indictment, Land Rover, Matt Friedrich, press conference, Senator Ted Stevens, Veco, Viking grill