Corruption

Ted Stevens on Trial

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As Sen. Ted Stevens' trial begins in Washington, ABC News reviews the allegations against the Alaska Republican, who is accused of concealing some $250,000 in gifts from VECO Corp., an oil services company based in his state. Although Stevens is not charged with accepting bribes, federal prosecutors nevertheless plan to delve into the favors he allegedly has done for VECO over the years. Stevens' lawyers say the government should stay away from that area unless it is prepared to provide evidence of a quid pro quo. Prosecutors say the help VECO got from Stevens is relevant in explaining his motive for concealing the gifts, which consisted mainly of renovations to his home in Girdwood, Alaska.

But as I argued in a recent column, even if you take the charges at face value, Stevens' relationship with VECO did far less damage to the Treasury than the perfectly legal assistance he has rendered his constituents during his four decades in Congress. Add up all the alleged favors for VECO, and the amount of taxpayer money actually spent totals maybe $35 million. That's probably something like one-thousandth of the money that Stevens has proudly funneled to Alaska during his career. Federal spending there totaled $9 billion in 2006 alone.

I mentioned in my column that Republicans may be stuck with a convicted felon on the ballot in Alaska, since Stevens stands for re-election just a few weeks after his trial is expected to end. Should he win re-election even after losing the trial, The New York Times notes, Stevens' colleagues will be stuck with a convicted felon in Congress unless and until he resigns or his fellow senators vote to force him out.

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  1. I want to see Stevens convicted, sent to jail, yet voted back into office so he has the further indignity of being ejected from Congress. It’s just too bad he had the run of the place for 40 years.

  2. Not a big truck.

  3. Just a series of tubes.

  4. Stevens is a typical reactionary Republican stuck in the days of pork, Luddite-ism, hatred of science, faux Christianity, and bigotry.

    But hey! That is a winning platform in 21 states!

  5. The first comment was awesome due to content, the next two were awesome due to hilarity. Then, shrike has to come in with typical turd-in-the-punch-bowl predictable nonsense.

    Wait, I’ll even discuss the points shrike attmepts to make.

    pork – Well, I’m really not sure I’ve seen that being the realm of only the Donkeys.

    Luddite-ism Ok, that one scores a point

    hatred of science Both parties politicize science. Unless you don’t consider economics a science.

    faux Christianity Seriously? That’s an interesting take considering all the Catholic Democrats who make stupid statements about church doctrine, especially regarding abortion. See: Pelosi, Nancy, and Biden, Joe, for recent examples. If that isn’t “faux Christianity” I don’t know what is.

    bigotry Yes, bigotry is limited to Republicans.

  6. The fourth comment is just plain retarded.

  7. Well, John David,

    No one is even close to Alaska in “pork per capita” – thanks largley to Stevens and Young (both R).

    On science the R’s routinely reject unfettered stem cell research, genetics/evolution education, alternative energy, court findings in Schiavo cases, and the like…

    On “faux Christianity” – Pelosi and Biden stand up to the dogma of their church elders and FOR the Constitution — which has found that individual PRIVACY and freedom trumps the church in matters of freedom.

    Bigotry? You have to be kidding… Stevens is a world class asshole.

  8. Should he win re-election even after losing the trial, The New York Times notes, Stevens’ colleagues will be stuck with a convicted felon in Congress…

    The only way that will make Stevens different from the rest is that he’ll be an official felon, not just an honorary one.

  9. I meant the fifth. damn

  10. I don’t consider Economics to be a science. No sirree.

    Unless by science you intend to include those things that would lose a beauty contest to a stillborn lovechild of Thomas Kuhn and a fucking donkey.

  11. LMNOP,

    I’d love to know your definition of science. Does it somehow exclude hypotheses that can be made and then tested against experimental results?

  12. No one is even close to Alaska in “pork per capita” – thanks largley to Stevens and Young (both R)

    shrike-

    Yep they’re #1 (by 100%)

    But,
    Top 10 pork per capita*

    Alaska (2 R senators), Hawaii (2 D senators), North Dakota (2 D Senators), West Virginia, (2 D Senators), Mississippi (2 R Senators) Vermont (2 D Senators**), South Dakota (1 D 1 R) New Mexico (1 D 1 R), Montana (2 D Senators) DC (seat of Government)

    So in the top 9 states, there are 6 Republican Senators and 12 Democratic ones.

    * I’ll admit, CAGW is not quite as non-partisan as they protest to be.

    ** close enough

  13. Unless you don’t consider economics a science.

    The softest of the soft sciences, sure, but it is science if string theory is science.

    ;^)

    I’d love to know your definition of science. Does it somehow exclude hypotheses that can be made and then tested against experimental results?

    I am trying to imagine a properly controlled experiment involving the world’s economy.

    Economics is for the most part an observational science (so it is a real science,imho). However, most of the controlled experiments I have seen in economics are really psychology experiments.

    My random rambling is done.

  14. If he’s convicted, do they have to kick him out? (yup, i’m that ignorant. and that lazy) If they do kick him out, will the old bastard hold a grudge?After 40 years, ya reckon he might turn the key to the skeleton closet over to the msm as payback?

  15. The only crime which would categorically exclude Stevens from Congress (as well as any other office, state or federal) would be if, having taken an oath of office to support the U.S. Constitution, he engaged in insurrection or rebellior or “given aid or comfort to the enemies” of the U.S. (broader than the definition of treason, which speaks of “aid *and* and comfort”) to enemies. This is in Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment, which was used to exclude various ex-Confederates from office, as well as at least one Socialist (Victor Berger). A prior criminal conviction is not necessary to trigger this clause, though Berger was convicted under one of the WWI sedition acts.

    (The Confederates ended up getting Congressional pardons, as allowed in the same section of the 14th Amendment – Berger didn’t get a Congressional pardon).

    If Stevens is convicted of garden-variety corruption, and the voters re-elect him, he’s entitled to serve out his term unless the Senate expels him, which would take a 2/3 vote.

  16. Mad Max,
    Thank you

  17. A convicted felon serving in the Senate. Seems fair.
    Every cultural group should be proportionally represented in Congress.

    After all, about 1% of the population of the US is in prison, so if 1 of the 100 senators is a convicted felon, that will give the correct representation for our prison population, an otherwise persecuted minority.

  18. One down, 434 to go.

    Oh, fuck…

  19. While we’re on the subject of republican thieves who were caught red handed, what happened to TOM DELAY?? His trial is WAY overdue. Friends in the justice department?

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