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Conviction Mars Senator's Reputation

POSTED: 04:40 PM ET, 10/27/2008 by Derek Kravitz


Sen. Ted Stevens (AP)

A federal jury in D.C. has found Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens guilty of seven counts of lying on his Senate financial disclosure forms, undoing the once-sterling reputation of the 40-year Republican lawmaker and throwing his chances at re-election into serious doubt.

Stevens, 84, has been locked in an election fight with Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich. If Stevens wins Nov. 4, there is no rule that prohibits a convicted felon from remaining in office, although the Senate could vote to expel him (U.S. Senate Associate Historian Donald Ritchie tells National Public Radio's David Welna that, historically, the chamber has been "very reluctant to expel such members.")

The Nation's John Nichols called the guilty verdict "the biggest news story -- even bigger than that of long-time Stevens ally Sarah Palin's campaign for the vice presidency -- in the state as Alaskans prepare to vote November 4" and The Dallas Morning News' Michael Landauer wondered whether Palin would now call for Stevens to resign.

The Post's columnist Colbert King called Stevens a "nasty and arrogant human being who seems to get his jollies treating people with disdain." He suggested that Stevens's character might help explain why the jury convicted him.

Meanwhile, Patti Higgins, chairwoman of the Alaska Democratic Party, released a statement calling on Stevens to "immediately resign" his Senate seat and the watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste called the Stevens trial "just another sad, but not surprising spectacle of corruption and cynicism in the nation's capital," likening it to the cases of lobbyist Jack Abramoff and former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Calif.).

The National Journal opines that the verdict virtually seals Stevens's political fate, saying it is unlikely he "could possibly be re-elected a mere 8 days after being convicted of a felony."

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), a character witness on Stevens's behalf, expressed disappointment with the verdict, adding that he has always found Stevens to be "very honest and straightforward," according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

Under sentencing guidelines, Stevens could get up to five years in prison for each count of lying about hundreds of thousands of dollars home renovations and gifts he received from his one-time fishing and drinking buddy, Alaska oil executive Bill Allen.

The Alaska Republican icon had asked for a speedy trial so he could clear his name before Election Day. His conviction follows chaotic deliberations by the 12-person jury, which excused one member after her father died and requested another juror be removed after she had "violent outbursts" as the pool decided the senator's fate.

In the weeks leading up to the trial, Stevens had boldly said he would not step down and that he would win his upcoming bid for a seventh term.

"Put this down: That will never happen -- ever, OK?" Stevens said, according to The Associated Press.

As the guilty verdict on the first count was read, Stevens slumped slightly, reported Erika Bolstad and Richard Mauer of the Anchorage Daily News. When the second count was read, his lawyer, Brendan V Sullivan Jr., reached over and put his arm around Stevens' shoulders.

As Stevens left the courtroom, he told his wife, "It's not over yet."

By Derek Kravitz |  October 27, 2008; 4:40 PM ET Stevens Trial
Previous: Early Voting Might Relieve Polling Pressure | Next: Election Coverage, Access to Gitmo Camp, CIA Doubled Science and Tech Officers

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In February 2008, Governor Palin's office sent Sen. Ted Stevens ( Republican, Alaska, )a 70-page memo outlining almost $200 million worth of new earmark funding requests for Alaska.

In fiscal year 2002, Wasilla ( population 6000) took in $6.1 million in earmarks -- about $1,000 in federal money for every resident. By contrast, Boise, Idaho -- which has more than 190,000 residents -- received $6.9 million in earmarks in fiscal 2008.

As Mayor, Sarah Palin employed a lobbying firm to secure almost $27 million in federal earmarks for a town of 6,700 residents while she was its mayor, according to an analysis by an independent government watchdog group.

In introducing Palin as his running mate, Sen. John McCain cast her as a compatriot in his battle against wasteful federal spending. McCain, the Republican presidential candidate, hailed Palin as a politician "with an outstanding reputation for standing up to special interests and entrenched bureaucracies -- someone who has fought against corruption and the failed policies of the past, someone who's stopped government from wasting taxpayers' money."

What a fraud. Reformers- they are NOT. Just more of the Same.

Not this time, folks

Posted by: Luke2 | October 27, 2008 5:09 PM

The next item of justice would be for Stevens to lose the election. So this case is now in the hands of the peoples court of Alaska.

Posted by: Ranger-Phx | October 27, 2008 5:31 PM

He apparently thought he was still in Alaska. As far as his political future goes I'm will to bet he will run for reelecion and win. As far as congress is concerned, as long as he is not in jail, they will expell him. As for jail time forget it. I'm making a bet he won't server more than six months, with a lot of it suspended, which will start after the election.

Posted by: Jimof1913 | October 27, 2008 6:13 PM

It's a beautiful day.

Posted by: IowaGlenn | October 27, 2008 6:26 PM

Luke2-

If Caribou Barbie is a product of the wisdom of the "people of Alaska" then it looks as though Stevens will win re-election...

Posted by: kase | October 27, 2008 6:50 PM


It was so obvious from the taped recording, wherein he spoke of having to do 'maybe a little jail time', that he was GUILTY.

Posted by: mtobias1 | October 27, 2008 6:53 PM

Sterling reputation, as what, a cantankerous, vile old curmudgeon? Stevens has acted as a thug and bully. His only reputation is showering his constituents with earmarks.

Posted by: csintala79 | October 27, 2008 7:31 PM

Privilege and corruption. I guess those Republicans think they're better than everyone else. Will Alaska suffer the ignominity of being the first state to elect a convicted felon to the US Senate?

Posted by: thebobbob | October 27, 2008 7:41 PM

Brendan V Sullivan Jr. was the lawyer for Ollie North. Result: Conviction [overturned on appeal, I think]. Also the lawyer for Ted Stevens. Result: Conviction.

Either Sullivan has a remarkable ability to lose at the district court level or he has a horrible knack for picking notorious ex-military clients.

I guess there's lots of loot in them thar military officers that have trouble telling the truth under oath or in official filings.

Thanks much. HLB

Posted by: HLBeckPE | October 27, 2008 7:43 PM

October 27, 2008, Anchorage, Alaska – Governor Sarah Palin today released the following statement on the felony convictions of U.S. Senator Ted Stevens:
“This is a sad day for Alaska and for Senator Stevens and his family. The verdict shines a light on the corrupting influence of the big oil service company that was allowed to control too much of our state. That control was part of the culture of corruption I was elected to fight. And that fight must always move forward regardless of party or seniority or even past service.
“As Governor of the State of Alaska, I will carefully monitor this situation and take any appropriate action as needed. In the meantime, I ask the people of Alaska to join me in respecting the workings of our judicial system. I'm confident Senator Stevens will do what is right for the people of Alaska.”
Talk about kicking a guy teetering on the edge of oblivion. Sarah Barracuda, indeed.

Posted by: rlgauthier | October 27, 2008 7:51 PM

It would be a cold heart indeed not to feel the warmth of schadenfruede at this news.

Posted by: turningfool | October 27, 2008 8:31 PM

schadenfreude, sorry.

Posted by: turningfool | October 27, 2008 8:32 PM

How's this for Maverick-y-ness:

"Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin began building clout in her state's political circles in part by serving as a director of an independent political group organized by the now embattled Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens.

"Palin's name is listed on 2003 incorporation papers of the "Ted Stevens Excellence in Public Service, Inc.," a 527 group that could raise unlimited funds from corporate donors. The group was designed to serve as a political boot camp for Republican women in the state. She served as one of three directors until June 2005, when her name was replaced on state filings."

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/09/01/palin_was_a_director_of_embatt.html

Posted by: ScottinNC | October 27, 2008 10:16 PM

This conviction makes me wonder ...
Todd and Governor Palin's new home cost $2.1-million.
I read somewhere, maybe on the Anchorage Daily News, that the same company that did the renovations on Senator Stevens' home, constructed the Palin's home.
Questions are being asked about who provided the materials to construct the home, etc.
The construction began just prior to the hearings concerning the Alaskan pipeline Governor Palin supposedly negotiated (but which a report yesterday says may never be built, despite the fact that she brags about it and cites it as credit to her political prowess on her resume).
If what I suspect may be the case, that would make Governor Palin's statement hypocritical in the extreme.
I live in Texas, so I would have to do a lot of searching through news reports, etc.
But it's an interesting question.

Posted by: Judy-in-TX | October 27, 2008 10:46 PM

A power hungry ingrate who threw his wife on the sword to save his corrupt @ss. He got what he deserved.

Posted by: tydicea | October 28, 2008 1:00 AM

Enjoy your jail time greedy pig. How many more of your Republican buddies are there we can have join you?

Posted by: Hillary08 | October 28, 2008 1:01 AM

The culture in Alaska is crazy. Stevens demands that Alaska gets thousands of ear marks. Look at his website and his list of appropriations requests. Most of this is not stuff that should be funded by the U.S. Taxpayers. The former governor had it so bad he bought a jet- a corporate jet. He got almost $3 million to pave the road to his favorite restaurant. Bob Parsons gave him a recliner. Stevens kept it and did not report it on his disclosure. Someone needs to explain this to Ted Stevens, Orrin Hatch and Dan Inouye, this is bribery. That is not ok. What is sad is that chump change. Just like DAnny Rostenkowski- it is not worth ruining your career over but he (Ted Stevens) did. The Democrats should ask every Republican Candidate if Ted Stevens should be expelled. Everyone that thinks this is just political should be sent home. If Elizabeth Dole does not think it is time for Stevens to go, it is time for her to go. If Mitch McConnell does not think it is time for Stevens to resign, he needs to resign. All of the candidates need to answer the question. This behavior and Larry Craigs conviction is not political-it is criminal. Stop whining.

Posted by: HelloNewman1 | October 28, 2008 6:38 AM

If Stevens is guilty of failing to report $250,000 in effective income to the Senate, what about the IRS? Either he reported it, which is equivalent to an admission of guilt, or he did not. In the latter case, isn't he guilty of tax evasion? Would some energetic reporter please follow up on this?

Posted by: nymec | October 28, 2008 9:24 AM

Who really built and paid for Palin's new lake house?


Todd and a couple of 'contractor' buddies?
Like maybe VECO buddies?

Let's see the receipts, buddies.


Posted by: mtobias1 | October 28, 2008 9:30 AM

In the spirit of fair play, ethical reporting, and justice, I expect to see in tomorrow's Wasinginton Post a full investigative report and a call for criminal prosecution of Senator Obama.

Since he took bribes and contributions for his home from not just contractors, but from criminals.

You will also proceed to investigate the hundreds of millions in fradulant campaign contributions he has taken from around the world. I can hardly wait for Senator Obama to receive his just due, as Senator Stevens has.

Oh, my mistake, I forgot Senator Obama is a liberal Democrat, thus exempt from investigation. The Post has invested too many favorable column inches to secure his election to bring him to justice!

Posted by: wilsonj1 | October 28, 2008 10:09 AM

BREAKING NEWS --- I Just Heard That Sarah Palin Earlier This Morning Put The Entire Fleet of Alaska Airlines Jet Aircraft On E-Bay To Help Pay For Stevens Legal Defense.............

Posted by: THISHASTOBEJUSTDREAMINGOFWATCHINGAREALLYBADMOVIE | October 28, 2008 12:39 PM

One has to wonder, being a Leading and Powerful Republican, what else has he done?

He was close to the White House!

Posted by: rcossebo | October 28, 2008 2:58 PM

I dont want a "game show" hostess as VP...

...With lies of the Palin/McCaint ticket...

I wonder if they even can fully understand the problem that they have created with this person as a VP Choice....

With the McCaint Campaign and their "spin" on this choice is so sadly moronic that the RNC/GOP card holders want to "dress her up" in a wardrobe that exceeds more that what us the "middle class" they make in 3 years...just on womens' clothing...

The so called "elitism" of Obama who was shown in a Time magazine picture of his shoes worn, yet mcCaint has 500 dollar shoes...is laughable and pathetic to say the least..

If they wanted peeeuuu Palin to be more like "small town" America why did they not allow her to continue to buy her fashions from Walmart...what are the neo-con RNC/GOP bootsmellers saying now, that "small town" clothing is for "rubes"...

This country is in such a mess from Bush2 the only place Americans COULD go is Walmart, to buy clothing at least WE could afford them...

Putting peeeuuu Palin in Michael Jacksons 20 year old jacket from "Thriller" and peeeuuu Palin "explaining" what the VP does to a 3rd grader....was so pathetic and laughable..that more people need to see it...again and again to remind this Nation on how stupid she really is...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_H1hKaHDSvg&feature=user

..Instead of spending 150,000 dollars on clothing, hiring a make up artist at 24,500 a month....

....They really should have hired a "fragrance consultant"..because their pathetic and laughable campaign...... stinks.....really bad

Posted by: AlexP1 | October 28, 2008 4:00 PM

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