Anyone convicted of seven counts of corruption should really consider resigning their position in the Senate to spend a little time with family before entering Club Fed. Unfortunately, that hasn’t occurred to Ted Stevens. He insists today that he will not resign his seat, which means that the Senate will have to eject him if he wins re-election:
For most politicians, a guilty verdict on seven felony counts — eight days before an election — would guarantee the end of a political career. But Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens is not like most politicians. After his conviction Monday on charges that he lied about free home renovations and other gifts from a wealthy oil contractor, the 84-year-old Stevens refused to drop out of his re-election race against Democrat Mark Begich.
Republican presidential nominee John McCain called Tuesday for Stevens to resign from the Senate, saying he “has broken his trust with the people.” …
In a statement issued by his Senate office, Stevens said he was disappointed but not surprised at the verdict, “given the repeated instances of prosecutorial misconduct in this case.”
Stevens proclaimed his innocence and said, “I will fight this unjust verdict with every ounce of energy I have.”
He asked Alaskans and his Senate colleagues to stand with him as he pursues his legal rights and his re-election campaign.
Stevens has every legal right to keep his seat, but that’s not the point. He had a major contributor doing him lots of expensive favors, and his entire defense is that no one ever told him about it. Small wonder the jury returned a solid wall of guilty verdicts. Now Stevens wants to pretend that he’s as clean as the Waldorf’s dishes at dawn, and he deserves the benefit of the doubt while he appeals his convictions over the next few months.
Stevens had his day in court. He lost. He can keep appealing as long as his money holds out, but he needs to exit the Senate now. Alaska deserves better than to be represented by a convicted felon. The fact that Stevens can’t see that much demonstrates how distorted his perspective had become even before getting caught in corruption. His obstinate grasp on power is quite a revealing moment for a supposed public servant.