On seven charges, although we won’t know the specifics until 1:20 ET. Anyone want to try guessing? There’s no shortage of possibilities: This is, after all, the pork king of the United States Senate, dogged for years by allegations of corruption. Longtime HA readers will remember that the feds raided his home last summer allegedly as part of an investigation into bribes. Does the indictment stem from that, or is there some new and even more depressing graft charge forthcoming? Stay tuned!
He’s not the only Alaskan in Congress under suspicion, either. Three cheers for our fearless Republican leadership, which was either too stupid or too weak to push Stevens into retirement before he decided to run for re-election this year. (He’s 85.) A Rasmussen poll eight days ago put him eight points behind Democrat Mark Begich. What’ll it be tomorrow? Fifteen?
If only there was some young, popular Alaskan politician with a reputation for ethics reform that could step up. Any suggestions?
Update: McClatchy notes that this is part of a four-year probe into corruption among Alaska’s political class, so it’s not like the GOP was taken by surprise. Still waiting to hear about the charges, but USA Today suspects it’s related to the fact that Stevens’s home mysteriously doubled in size thanks to an oilfield services company called VECO, two former execs of which donated to Stevens and have since pled guilty to bribery and extortion charges.
Update: Yep, it’s VECO. How is this distinguishable from bribery?
The seven-count indictment, charges Stevens with making false statements by failing to disclose things of value he received from the Veco Corp., an Alaska-based oil services compmany, and from its CEO, Bill Allen, over an eight-year period.
The indictment charges that among the undeclared items were substantial improvements to Stevens’s home in Girdwood, Alaska; automobile exchanges in which he received new vehicles that were worth far more than the old ones he exchganged; and household goods, including a Viking gas grill.
At the same time, according to the indictment, Stevens received solicitations for official actions from Allen and and other Veco employees, and used his office on behalf of Veco.
Update: Good advice from Lowry, which I expect will be heeded.