Find Post Investigations On:
Facebook Scribd Twitter
Friendfeed RSS Google Reader
» About This Blog | Meet the Investigative Team | Subscribe
Ongoing Investigation

Top Secret America

The Post explores the top secret world the government created in response to the attacks of Sept. 11.

Ongoing Investigation

The Hidden Life of Guns

How guns move through American society, from store counter to crime scene.

Have a Tip?

Talk to Us

If you have solid tips, news or documents on potential ethical violations or abuses of power, we want to know. Send us your suggestions.
• E-mail Us

Categories

Post Investigations
In-depth investigative news
and multimedia from The Washington Post.
• Special Reports
• The Blog

Reporters' Notebook
An insider's guide to investigative news: reporters offer insights on their stories.

The Daily Read
A daily look at investigative news of note across the Web.

Top Picks
A weekly review of the best
in-depth and investigative reports from across the nation.

Hot Documents
Court filings, letters, audits and other documents of interest.

D.C. Region
Post coverage of investigative news in Maryland, Virginia and the District.

Washington Watchdogs
A periodic look into official government investigations.

Help! What Is RSS?
Find out how to follow Post Investigations in your favorite RSS reader.

Hot Comments

Unfortunately I believe that we are limited in what we can focus on. I think that if we proceed with the partisan sideshow of prosecuting Bush admin. officials, healthcare will get lost in the brouhaha.
— Posted by denamom, Obama's Quandary...

Recent Posts
Bob Woodward

The Washington Post's permanent investigative unit was set up in 1982 under Bob Woodward.


Archives
See what you missed, find what you're looking for.
Blog Archive »
Investigations Archive »

Have a Tip?
Send us information on ethics violations or abuses of power.
E-Mail Us »

Other
Investigations
Notable investigative projects from other news outlets.
On the Web »
Top Picks »

Stevens 'Didn't Know' His Bills Paid by Friend

POSTED: 03:18 PM ET, 09/25/2008 by The Editors

The lawyer for Sen. Ted Stevens told a federal jury in D.C. today that the Alaska Republican paid every bill he received for a home renovation project and had no idea he wasn't being charged for some of the work.

In his opening statement at Stevens' corruption trial, defense attorney Brendan Sullivan said the senator and his wife believed they had paid the fair market price for the renovations and didn't know that his friend, oil executive Bill Allen, was keeping other bills or costs from them.

But prosecutors said that the free work was part of a long pattern of gifts Stevens is accused of concealing. Allen gave the senator a gas grill, a generator, a complicated exterior rope lighting system and a sweetheart deal on a car, they said. "This is a simple case about a public official who took hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of free financial benefits, and then took away the public right to know that information," said Brenda Morris, the lead Justice Department prosecutor.

Stevens is accused of knowingly and repeatedly filing false financial reports with the Senate between 2000 and 2006 that understated or omitted gifts or other benefits that he got from Allen and others. He faces up to five years in prison if convicted.

Prosecutor Morris told jurors not to buy the theory that Stevens was unaware of what went on around him. She said Stevens knew he wasn't getting all the bills for the renovations and was quite experienced at hiding favors.

"You do not survive politics in this town for that long without being very, very smart, very, very deliberate, very forceful and, at the same time, knowing how to fly under the radar," Morris told jurors.

Asked about Stevens today, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the GOP vice presidential candidate who a few years ago served as a director of an independent political group organized by the senator,
declined to endorse his candidacy for re-election. "We'll see where that goes," she said of the trial.

The long-serving Stevens is known for his talent at bringing federal spending to his home state. A report today from the nonprofit Taxpayers for Common Sense reinforces that reputation. The group calculated that Stevens was the biggest earmark winner in the congressional spending bills that were released today. Stevens scored $238.5 million in earmarks among the Defense, Homeland Security, Military Construction/VA, and disaster aid bills.

By The Editors |  September 25, 2008; 3:18 PM ET Stevens Trial
Previous: Air Force Colonel Describes New Claims of Iraqi Torture | Next: Are Nuke Labs 'Vulnerable' to Spies?

Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.



Did the congressman think that the "Santa Claus bill payer" took care of these? Another one with his hand caught in the cookie jar. It is no wonder that the American people are so distrustful of their politicians.

Posted by: Rarobinson17 | September 25, 2008 5:12 PM

Does his counsel expect the jurors, the voters in Alaska, and the American people are gullible enough to believe that this 40-year Senator jsut didn't notice that he had a new grill, new exterior lighting, and a new generator? The fact that he used these things but did not pay for them should have clued him in that they were gifts and needed to be reported.

He's either lying though his teeth, or the most unobservent idiot to walk the Capitol corridors. Let's hope the Alaska voters see this for what it is.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 25, 2008 5:16 PM

At this point it does not matter whether the man knew about the gifts or not. Having read the list of "impartial" jurors chosen to sit on this case it will simply be another case of Have's versus Have nots.
The perception of his guilt is enough. The truth is no longer an issue. An unfortunate set of cirumstances indeed.

Posted by: Bob | September 25, 2008 5:21 PM

.
"Stevens 'Didn't Know' His Bills Paid by Friend"

Fortunately, I don't have that problem, since my bills are always paid by a magic fairy.

/

Posted by: ALEX H. | September 25, 2008 5:22 PM

This is part of a larger problem. Our lawmakers are lavished with gifts every day. The only requirement is that they report them. This amounts to blatant prostitution, and it occurs every day in government.

Posted by: Matt | September 25, 2008 5:22 PM

If you buy this reasoning, then the United States is truly on the path of political self destruction.
You know I ordered and received this Rolls Royce and Chevrolet sent me a bill for 5,000.00. I thought I paid for it.

Posted by: Dhill | September 25, 2008 5:25 PM

Kick him and Rangel out. They're either corrupt or stupid, and who wants either?

Posted by: YMA | September 25, 2008 5:33 PM

How much were the renovation bills he paid??

Is it be beyond reason that if he legitimately laid out $20k for a new deck that the package might include a grill and lighting?

It is ironic that Obama has gotten over $100,000.00 from Fannie Mae* and they are sweating this guy about a gas grill and some rope lights!!

I honestly don't think he is innocent, but hope that the body of evidence of his "corruption" is a lot stronger than this!

*(source: http://boards.msn.com/MSNBCboards/thread.aspx?threadid=782816&boardsparam=Page%3d1)

Posted by: Curious | September 25, 2008 5:36 PM

Obama is about Black Power! His oppression his deeply rooted. Black liberation theology is about KILLING whites. And whites only. Look it up yourself....Soon the White man will be oppressed.

Posted by: Jon | September 25, 2008 5:40 PM

Obama's wife's thesis states that the white race is responsible for all the problems.
Obama's wife's thesis states that the white race is responsible for all the problems.
Obama's wife's thesis states that the white race is responsible for all the problems.
Obama's wife's thesis states that the white race is responsible for all the problems.
Obama's wife's thesis states that the white race is responsible for all the problems.
Obama's wife's thesis states that the white race is responsible for all the problems.

Posted by: Sarah | September 25, 2008 5:42 PM

CURIOUS - you idiot. try and relate this to the other corrupt politician from the state... PALIN - CORRUPT, Facist, non-sensical, non-progressive, Palin.

Posted by: KDOEI | September 25, 2008 5:42 PM

Hey Jon....put down the crack pipe and back away. Sheesh what a moron.

Posted by: DARRINN | September 25, 2008 5:46 PM

Let me get this straight: Stevens defense is that someone - a "friend" who is an admitted crook - supposedly gave him tens of thousands of dollars worth of material and labor, but didn't bother to even let Stevens know that he was getting "such a deal." Well, if the jury is gulible enough to believe that one, I've got a bridge in Alaska that I'll sell them real cheap.

Posted by: Bubba OK | September 25, 2008 5:46 PM

He curious...I believe you are oppressed. But its by the weight of your own stupidity.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 25, 2008 5:48 PM

how can all of these senators and representatives that are in charge of our country be such liars and or idiots, not to know whats going on in their own home..all of these morons should be waterboarded and lets find who is doing what ! I hate all of you bleeding hearts. You all better thank God you dont have to answer to me..... Felix

Posted by: david felix | September 25, 2008 5:48 PM

Senator Stevens is entitled to the best defense he can put together -- but neither he nor his attorneys are entitled to lie to investigators, the court or the people to forestall criminal proceedings. His statements of innocence may not be disproved, but they fail the sanity test.

Posted by: Reggie A | September 25, 2008 5:54 PM

What's important here is that public opinion of this cantankerous old man is dropping like a lead balloon - and if were lucky he'll never get re-elected to the senate.

Most of my fellow Alaskans are blind followers of this man, and can't see much passed the 'now'. Forward thinkers here believe its a good idea to drill ANWR, or sue to have the Polar Bear removed off the Threatened Species list (Palin's idea.. brilliant). I love where I live, but our leaders are anything but (leaders). Fresh blood please!

Posted by: Brian | September 25, 2008 5:59 PM

I wish I didn't know who paid my bills. Why do Republicans give such dumb answers when they get caught stealing or lying ? They all sound like Bush !!!

Posted by: SadAmerican | September 25, 2008 6:06 PM

I wish I didn't know who paid my bills. Why do Republicans give such dumb answers when they get caught stealing or lying ? They all sound like Bush !!!

Posted by: SadAmerican | September 25, 2008 6:06 PM

Singapore, which is the 4th least corrupt country in the world (US ranks 20th) has strict anti corruption laws and pays it's politicians over 1 million dollars a year in salary.
That keeps the politicians from taking those ski trips, golf junkets and small home remodeling offers of lobbyists.
The US should follow their example

Posted by: Norris Hall | September 25, 2008 6:07 PM

I wish that the poli-trick-ster served justice. Squandling TAX payers money is habitual amongst the Republician, this is the reason i switch, i don't trust them anymore.

Posted by: urboss | September 25, 2008 6:13 PM

I thought this article was about an Alaskan Republican Senator and his claim that he didn't know someone was paying his bills for him, but if you were to read these comments you think it was about some Obama racial jihad against the white folk (as it were). You may remove the tinfoil hats, sirs and madams.

Posted by: Strange Days | September 25, 2008 6:34 PM

"Singapore, which is the 4th least corrupt country in the world (US ranks 20th) has strict anti corruption laws and pays it's politicians over 1 million dollars a year in salary.
That keeps the politicians from taking those ski trips, golf junkets and small home remodeling offers of lobbyists."

By that line of reasoning, criminals are not bad people, they are just underpaid.

Posted by: Strange Days | September 25, 2008 6:35 PM

I looks like Stevens didn't think that $150,000 was much money and so got sloppy.

He was the "earmark king" used to dealing in billions.

It was only his vacation home of course. It isn't like they worked on his main house or anything was it?

Posted by: Cal | September 25, 2008 6:39 PM

Give the senator a break. He's the same type of person who didn't know a $20,000 annual salary was not going to cover a $200,000 mortgage. OK, I know I shouldn't use a tragic example, how's this one: he's the same type of person who doesn't know how many homes he owns... You can stop wondering why the USA is in bad shape, here's more PROOF!!!!

Posted by: gns100 | September 25, 2008 7:58 PM

So, why all the noise about our senior Senator from Alaska?
Gosh, even the President of the United States doesn't know how much money we're supposed to have. ANd Sentor McCain even professes that he doesn't know much about the economy.
Look at it this way. He's not spending extra time in the mens room, which proves his character per se.

Posted by: Jarhead | September 25, 2008 8:12 PM

And people wonder why no one wants to be associated with the Republican party right now.

Fiscal conservatives? Hah!

Posted by: JakeR | September 25, 2008 9:03 PM

Great tactic! Can't recall! It works every time! Reagan couldn't remember who his Secretary of Defense was during the Iran Contra fiasco! Alberto G couldn't remember much of anything other than his name!

Hell! Next time you don't pay your taxes when they come to get you, just say "I can't remember" It should work?

How do these brain-dead bozos get elected or into positions of power?

Posted by: Johann Wagener | September 25, 2008 9:51 PM

Quote: "Stevens is accused of knowingly and repeatedly filing false financial reports with the Senate between 2000 and 2006..."

Isn't this pretty much what Charlie Rangel did, in failing to report the income from his beachfront property in the Dominican Republic? He got a slap on the wrist and paid some back taxes to the IRS. Why is Stevens being prosecuted but Rangel is not?


Posted by: J Baustian | September 25, 2008 10:28 PM

I dont understand the concern that the jury might not buy Sen. Steven's defense.

Doesnt every politician have a multi-millionaire oil executive who is personally involved in and has all the home renovation bills pass through his hands before getting to the Senator???!

WTF?! Is this guy really going to trial with this defense?! He, like all corrupt pols, is a sociopath who after a lifetime of being drunk with power and entitlement cant see the end is upon him.

The rampant, unchecked, limitless corruption being perpetrated by our elected officials, will be the ruin of this nation. Look no further than the collapse of the banks and the war in Iraq.

There is no honor amoung thieves.

Posted by: Jack | September 25, 2008 10:49 PM

jon, racist, bigot. Focus on the facts. Never mind, you're incapable.

Posted by: bratcher15 | September 25, 2008 11:08 PM

Asked about Stevens today, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the GOP vice presidential candidate who a few years ago served as a director of an independent political group organized by the senator,
declined to endorse his candidacy for re-election. "We'll see where that goes," she said of the trial.

"Declined to endorse?" That's the most definite statement of her position on Stevens that I've heard so far. The big-time reformer who's not afraid to stand up to her own party has finally . . . "declined to endorse."

Posted by: DoTheMath | September 25, 2008 11:09 PM

Where do you sign up for the Steven's BILL PAY program? How could a powerful US Senator think that people would believe his fairy tail? Are Alaskans that stupid?

Posted by: Johann Wagener | September 25, 2008 11:44 PM

Boy, and to think those folks on Home and Garden TV got really good prices for the work they did. Now, I realize they were pikers by comparison. Hey, he's only $185K short of full payment- not really a lot of money for a (fill in the blank here).

Posted by: Blogden | September 26, 2008 12:02 AM

it's time we revamped Congress. Senators and Congressmen need to be brought back inline with being compensated like average people.

Posted by: tunaman | September 26, 2008 7:02 AM

Give the good Senator a break. He's using the Charlie Rangel defense, which is basically:

"What? I didn't know that was illegal! Do tell. Can I write a check now and go home?"

Posted by: BasilBoy | September 26, 2008 8:37 AM

I don't understand the issue here. Every month I put my bills under my pillow and the Fiscal Fairy comes by and pays them. She even brings stamps for me.

Maybe the Senator should try my meds, they really work.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2008 8:42 AM

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 

© 2010 The Washington Post Company