World Affairs Brief, August 1, 2008. Commentary and Insights on a Troubled World.

Copyright Joel Skousen. Partial quotations with attribution permitted. Cite source as Joel Skousen’s World Affairs Brief


Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) certainly knows how to bring home the bacon to his home state of Alaska, not to mention ego-maniacal monuments to his own name like the now infamous “bridge to nowhere”. He secured the funding from Congress and demanded it be named in his honor. This $400 million boondoggle was going to connect Ketchican to Gravina Island-population 50. Stevens, the longest serving politician currently in the Senate continues to get elected because of his ability to bring Alaska money, but he can’t accomplish his mega-pork agenda without trading favors with other politicians and business interests as well. Several other Senators are regular recipients of his election PAC money.

Stevens as well as four other state politicians in Alaska (including his son) are under indictment for accepting in-kind payments in exchange for political favors. Trading favors has been going on since the days of the Republic but Stevens took it to a whole new level. Only a tiny portion of his corruption is represented by the indictment over Stevens accepting a few hundred thousand dollars in remodeling upgrades to his house by a big oil contractor in exchange for special treatment. The government has intercepted emails acknowledging the free work, and can only get Stevens on a charge of failure to declare this as a gift-a relatively minor offense. If the government were really serious about getting Stevens, they would encourage an IRS tax evasion charge–shades of Al Capone.

Stevens was a major player in the establishment control of Congress, and others like Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have been made wealthy by insider connections. So why is Stevens being threatened with prosecution? How did he lose his de facto immunity? I can detect no betrayal on his part of the establishment line, but perhaps he simply got greedy. The establishment tends to want their boys dependent on them for financial favors. Stevens was free-lancing and making deals under the table everywhere he could and simply got caught. He’s been a major player in Alaska law and politics for over 50 years. He’s a political machine unto himself.

It’s interesting now to watch all his friends in Congress abandon him like rats scurrying off a sinking ship. As Manu Raju and Aaron Blake reported, “Republicans rushed Wednesday to distance themselves from Sen. Ted Stevens as the longest-serving GOP senator’s career plunged deeper into turmoil…. the reelection campaign of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) announced that it would donate $10,000 received from Stevens to a Christian mission in the senator’s home state of Kentucky.” There are others too. John McCain donate Steven’s contribution to a charity. Doesn’t the media find it a little strange that one Senator is giving $10,000 to several other politicians? It’s supposed to be all right now that McConnell and McCain (there are others) are divesting themselves of these gifts. I think the basic purpose of these divesting moves is to give the Senate a excuse NOT to investigate Steven’s collusion with these other politicians.