WASHINGTON (AFP) — The epic 2008 election may yet have a sting in its tail two weeks after election day, as Democrats pin hopes on three yet-to-be decided Senate races which could further tip the balance of power.
In a long-shot scenario, races in Alaska, Georgia and Minnesota could take Democrats to the magic 60-seat threshold which would frustrate Republican obstruction tactics.
Category Archives: VECO
A few years ago, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma suggested taking money earmarked for a notoriously extravagant “bridge to nowhere” in Alaska and using it for reconstruction in Louisiana. Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, a fellow Republican, angrily declared, “This is the first time I have seen any attempt by any senator to treat my state…differently from any other state.”
In a tirade that included threats to behave like “a wounded bull on the floor of the Senate,” to “be taken out of here on a stretcher,” and to “resign from this body,” Stevens’ insistence that all he wanted was equal treatment for Alaska may have been the least believable thing he said. During the last four decades, no one has done more than Stevens to ensure that Alaska is treated unequally, receiving far more in federal spending than it pays in taxes.
Well, kids, I had another movie poster ready to go, but how could I ignore what happened today?
(WASHINGTON) — Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens was convicted of seven corruption charges Monday in a trial that tainted the 40-year Senate career of Alaska’s political patriarch. The verdict, coming barely a week before Election Day, added further uncertainty to a closely watched Senate race. Democrats hope to seize the once reliably Republican seat as part of their bid for a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.
Stevens, 84, was convicted of all the charges he faced of lying about free home renovations and other gifts from a wealthy oil contractor.
From the Los Angeles Times:
WASHINGTON — The indictment of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) on corruption charges Tuesday throws into question his grip on a Senate seat he has held for decades and offers Democrats a chance to strengthen their hold on Congress.
Stevens, the longest-serving Republican in the Senate and a towering figure in Alaska’s political history, was indicted by a federal grand jury here on charges that he concealed hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts from one of the state’s most powerful employers. The indictment accuses Stevens, 84, of accepting more than $250,000 in improvements to his Alaska home, as well as other gifts such as a gas grill and a new Land Rover, from VECO Corp., an oil field services company.
From The American Spectator ( 😮 yeah, I said The American Spectator! I am just as surprised as you are!):
The tin-foil-hat crowd was almost immediately pushing a Jack Abramoff angle to the surprise resignation of Sen. Trent Lott. But a more recent scandal brewing — which has already ensnared Sen. Ted Stevens, among others — may also be playing on Lott’s mind.
Lott, Stevens, as well as Rep. Dennis Hastert all have ties to Bill Allen, a larger than life Alaskan businessman who owned Veco, an oil-field services company, and who was a huge benefactor of Republican politicians. Between 1980 and 2000, Allen, Veco executives and Allen’s friends generated more than $1 million in political donations.
From Think Progress:
Allen has pleaded guilty to bribing Alaska legislators, including Ben Stevens, the son of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK). The elder Stevens is currently the target of multiple federal investigation, including one on his ties to Veco.
Lott continues to stand by Stevens, donating $5,000 from his political action committee to Stevens’s re-election campaign. Lott also has ties to Allen, who accompanied him to the lavish annual “Waterfall Fishing Tournament” in Alaska. Since 1996, at least 10 current and former lawmakers have attended the trip, an opportunity for “the energy industry’s top brass” to influence lawmakers.
From USA Today:
WASHINGTON — Sen. Ted Stevens, who championed $452 million in federal funding for Alaska’s notorious “bridges to nowhere,” has directed the Navy to build an experimental ferry it once rejected to serve a little-used port in a remote area of his home state.
The high-speed ferry will connect Anchorage to Port MacKenzie in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough at an estimated cost to taxpayers of $84 million. The project follows the same route as one of the two “bridges to nowhere,” which the non-partisan Taxpayers for Common Sense and others spotlighted in 2005 as examples of wasteful projects promoted by members of Congress that benefit few people.
The 3-mile ferry route will turn a 2½-hour drive into a 15-minute trip to Port MacKenzie, which has two businesses that employ about 40 people combined.
How do you remodel a chalet in Alaska for $130,000 when the carpentry bill alone was over $100,000, and you doubled the size of the home, complete with raising up the entire house to add a new first floor, replacing the roof, plus plumbing, design, and electrical work?
Original DVD cover.
(If you are curious, Senator Stevens is holding his favorite album, Tubular Bells.)
From The New York Times:
WASHINGTON, July 30 — The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service raided the Alaska home of Senator Ted Stevens on Monday in search of evidence about his relationship to a businessman who oversaw a remodeling project that almost doubled the size of the senator’s house, federal law enforcement officials said.
The decision to raid the home suggests that the corruption investigation focused on Mr. Stevens, a long-serving Republican and former chairman, has taken on new urgency.
The businessman, Bill J. Allen, the founder of an oil fields service company that has won tens of millions of dollars in federal contracts with the senator’s help, has pleaded guilty to bribing state legislators.