The Justice Department is dropping all charges against former Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), who was convicted last year of failing to report gifts from his buddies at VECO Corp., a now-defunct oil services and construction company. In withdrawing the indictment, the government cites several examples of prosecutorial misconduct, the most serious of which seems to be concealing notes from an interview with former VECO CEO Bill Allen that undercut the prosecution's claims about allegedly uncompensated work on Stevens' home in Alaska. In the interview, Allen put the value of the renovations at $80,000, far less than what the government claimed. Prosecutors did not provide the notes to Stevens' attorneys.
It seems safe to say that the actions of the prosecutors in this case are more worrisome than the crimes of which Stevens was accused, which amounted to filling out inaccurate paperwork. But don't get the idea that Stevens, who was convicted before last November's election and lost to Democrat Mark Begich, is innocent. As I've said before, the problem is that his real crimes, which involved funneling billions of dollars in taxpayer money to Alaska, were perfectly legal.