Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) just may be the “poster child” for the problem of earmarking. Since 1999, Stevens has steered more than $3 billion in pet projects toward his state. In fact, one year, Stevens, called the “King of Pork,” was able to secure more homeland security funds for his state than New York! He is also responsible for the “Bridge to Nowhere” I referenced above. Now, Senator Stevens (or “Uncle Ted” as he is known to his constituents) is under investigation by federal authorities related to his largesse. This according to the Economist:
“On July 30th, agents from the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service scoured a home owned by ‘Uncle Ted’ in Girdwood, a suburb of Anchorage. The agents removed materials linked to allegations that Mr Stevens's home was remodelled in 2000 as a gift from VECO, a company that builds and manages pipelines and other oil infrastructure. The company’s founder, Bill Allen, pleaded guilty to extortion, bribery and conspiracy to impede the Internal Revenue Service."
As part of a wide-ranging corruption investigation in Alaska, a federal grand jury is also looking into a $3.5 million earmark from Stevens that may have financially benefited one of Stevens’ campaign contributors and, perhaps, the Senator’s son. Click here for the details.
According to The Associated Press, “Justice Department officials investigating Sen. Ted Stevens are examining whether federal funds he steered to an Alaska wildlife research center may have enriched a former aide, say officials familiar with the probe.”
“I am guilty of asking the Senate for pork, and proud of the Senate for giving it to me,'' Senator Stevens once said. Well, it appears the Senator might be guilty of much more than just congressional panhandling. Let’s hope federal investigators aggressively pursue the facts and hold Stevens accountable for any criminal activity. In the meantime, it would be appropriate for the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate Stevens’ conduct.