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It's Good to Be Alaska's King By: Tom Fitton
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, August 08, 2008

My colleagues and I attended the arraignment of Alaska’s Republican Senator Ted Stevens in a DC federal court this week.  The courtroom was packed, so we sat with the media and watched the proceedings on closed-circuit television.

Stevens, the longest serving Republican in the U.S. Senate, was indicted for accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts and lying about them on his Senate financial disclosure forms.  Stevens didn’t say anything at the arraignment and his extraordinary request to get a trial before the general election was granted by the judge handling his case.  It is good to be the king – or senator!

I encourage you to review the sordid details in the indictment here.  Stevens is accused of failing to report $250,000 of gifts he received from an oil company and its owner.    

If the charges are proven correct, Senator Stevens deserves what he gets -- and more.  Prosecutors charged Stevens with lesser charges of making false statements rather than bribery/extortion because I believe they have been hamstrung by recent court rulings that make it harder to prosecute public officials (especially members of Congress) for bribery.  (Interestingly, the feds have finally seemed to understand that elected officials who lie on their financial disclosure forms should be prosecuted.  They refused to do this to Hillary when we asked them (she failed to disclose her multi-million dollar family foundation).  One wonders if Barack Obama and the other senators who failed to report their sweetheart mortgages properly will receive prosecutorial scrutiny.

Stevens ought to resign, but won't. These days, it seems members of Congress have to be hauled off to jail before they relinquish their office (see also Rep. William "Dollar Bill" Jefferson).

Tom Fitton is president of Judicial Watch.

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