July 31, 2007

Are They Looking For Frozen Pork?

The FBI and the IRS raided the newly-renovated home of Senator Ted Stevens in Alaska, looking for evidence of political corruption in an investigation that has already corralled his son and one of his closest political backers. Bill Allen, the CEO of oil-services firm VECO, got convicted of bribing state legislators earlier this year, and now the FBI and IRS want to see what Allen may have given the Republican Senator in exchange for millions of contracts in earmarks:

Agents from the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service raided the Alaska home of Sen. Ted Stevens (R) yesterday as part of a broad federal investigation of political corruption in the state that has also swept up his son and one of his closest financial backers, officials said.

Stevens, the longest-serving Republican senator in history, is under scrutiny from the Justice Department for his ties to an Alaska energy services company, Veco, whose chief executive pleaded guilty in early May to a bribery scheme involving state lawmakers.

Contractors have told a federal grand jury that in 2000, Veco executives oversaw a lavish remodeling of Stevens's house in Girdwood, an exclusive ski resort area 40 miles from Anchorage, according to statements by the contractors. ...

(AP) Stevens, 83, is under a federal investigation for his connections to Bill Allen, founder of VECO Corp., an Alaska-based oil field services and engineering company that has reaped tens of millions of dollars in federal contracts.

These are the wages of pork. Allowing earmarks gives lawmakers far too easy a path to reward constituents who reward the lawmakers. It's bad enough when they buy political contributions through earmarks to protect their incumbencies, but we've seen Duke Cunningham and William Jefferson shake down special interests for their own personal enrichment.

Stevens has not yet been charged with a crime, and judgment should be held until we at least see an indictment. Given that Stevens has been one of the more ridiculous figures in Washington in protecting his pork, though, he brings these character questions on himself. Hysterical defenses of $200 million projects to benefit a few dozen residents of an island practically begs people to question who gets the money and how that benefits Stevens.

We should keep a close eye on this investigation and the companion probe into Stevens' Alaskan colleague in the House, Don Young. Both have connections to VECO, and both have insisted that earmarks are their own money to do with what they see fit. Until we end that facility by which our elected representatives can raid the taxpayers' treasury to bestow favors and line their own pockets, we will continue to see embarrassing corruption probes into the activities of members of both parties. This, unfortunately, is where partisanship ends in Washington. (via Michelle Malkin)


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Comments (33)

Posted by FedUp | July 31, 2007 8:10 AM

In the likely event that these allegations are proven to be true (no matter how long that takes), it is time for the American people to wake up and insist on mandatory AND age limits. Stevens and Byrd are two examples of congressmen who have outlived their usefullness! Think of all the money we could save...

Posted by Cousin Dave | July 31, 2007 8:35 AM

Ah, the pigeons of pork come home to roost. (How's that for a mixed metaphor?) I have a nasty feeling that there are a lot more such cases lurking out there, just waiting for the FBI or some enterprising blogger to connect the dots. All of the pork kings in Congress, of both parties, should now be regarded as inherently suspect.

Posted by Immolate | July 31, 2007 8:39 AM

If this were (another) Democrat, the sound of crickets from the left side of the blogosphere would be deafening. As it is a Republican, I predict that the Senator will be roundly condemned by his comrades and removed from any committee positions that he holds.

Let me the first (more likely 989th) to say, "string him up boys". I dislike crooked Republicans a lot more than I dislike crooked Democrats. I expect it from the Dems.

Posted by tnmartin | July 31, 2007 8:50 AM

There are really two things that need to happen to fix this.
!) repeal the direct election of senators. These guys get elected and then spend the next 6 years raising money to run the next time.
2) it used to be called ''federalism'', meaning that people understood that most decisions were best made at as local a level as practical, that all Wisdom does not reside in DC. Fact is, that the federal government is too big, controls too much, has too much money, too much span. These ''earmarks'' are OUR money. Taxing Chicago cab drivers and Philadelphia firefighters to build a swimming pool in Utah so that a Senator can have a sign up showing he ''brung home the bacon'' is beyond insane. But that's how he uses your money to buy votes, and I see it all across the country. Reduce the stakes, reduce the rewards, and perhaps it will be less attractive to scoundrels and less a temptation to the honest.

Posted by FedUp | July 31, 2007 9:34 AM

Immolate - I strongly agree! Even though we expect it from the Dems - it is totally unacceptable from either side. They are elected and should understand that they are to be held accountable. Unfortunately for us, they have gotten away with so much for so long, that is now the norm to be crooked, rather than the exception.

Crooked politicians should be recalled, expelled, drawn and quartered, or whatever. They need to GET OUT and NOT collect any pension, benefits or whatever else they deem themselves entitled to!

The Dems have a chance to sparkle here. Cleaning up election reform and becomming transparent, burt we all know that this is not going to happen with Nancy and Harry at the helm.

PS tnmartin... RIGHT ON!!

Posted by Continuum | July 31, 2007 9:51 AM

Republicans need to stand up for Stevens.

At least he wasn't
. . . paying for prostitutes,
. . . or trying to sell BJs in public restrooms,
. . . or getting White House press passes for male hookers.

Hell, he didn't even accept over $2,000,000 in bribes.
. . . . .(At least not that we yet know. A 2nd, different FBI investigation is looking at his "charity" and his earmarks.)

Remember that Stevens is
. . . one of the Republicans' own,
. . . the longest serving Republican in the Senate, and
. . . fully supports President Bush.

Posted by unclesmrgol | July 31, 2007 9:53 AM


If not direct election of Senators, then how? Do we let the state legislatures do it (which is, of course, permitted under the Constitution, since it leaves to the states the manner in which their representation is appointed)?

Here in California, home of term limits for our legislators, they would love it. Yet another assured stair on the escalator for termed-out leaders of the controlling party, with no chance for minority or third party interference.

Posted by docjim505 | July 31, 2007 9:53 AM

Three easy steps for dealing with this:

Indict. Try. Hang.

No mercy for corruption in public office. I'm tired of these b******s raiding the public treasury to line their own pockets and / or fund their reelection campaigns. Stevens has been an stench in the GOP for some time, followed closely by Foghorn Leghorn Lott.

Posted by Monkei | July 31, 2007 10:05 AM


Let me the first (more likely 989th) to say, "string him up boys". I dislike crooked Republicans a lot more than I dislike crooked Democrats. I expect it from the Dems.

Gosh, you must have been very disappointed over the last 4-6 years! You expect it from the Dems but are getting it from the GOP!

Fedup - I don't expect it from EITHER party ... but am resigned to the fact that both are corrupt and are mirror images of each other!

But you have to agree, Stevens ... it could not have happen to a more unpleasant guy.

Posted by Georg Felis | July 31, 2007 10:13 AM

I’m going to reserve judgment on this one until more of the facts are in. No Red Queen here with Verdict before Trial (put away your rope docjim505).

This investigation is in a very early stage, it sounds like Stevens is cooperating fully to the searches, and even NPR is giving him the benefit of the doubt (something they normally reserve for Dems) What I suspect is that the contractor did not forward all the bills to Stevens, and some went instead to the lobbyist to get paid, therefore making the 7 year old remodeling job actually come in on budget (where in real life that seldom happens). The prosecution will have to prove that A) Stevens knew about it and B) there was some sort of agreement, a steep slope indeed to climb. Stevens will no doubt claim the contractor was honest and thought he was doing a good job keeping the remodeling costs under control, something we occasionally think our Senators are doing in Washington.

Posted by RBMN | July 31, 2007 10:19 AM

$200 million projects to benefit a few dozen residents of an island practically begs people to question who gets the money and how that benefits Stevens.

Not to defend Stevens' corruption, but Stevens' bridge argument was that after the bridge was built, then tens of thousands of Alaskans would quickly move there, now that they were able to commute across the bridge. It was precisely because there was no bridge that there were so few people living there.

Posted by Teresa | July 31, 2007 10:44 AM

Unfortunately for Ted, the contractor has already pled guilty and admitted to bribing other members of the Alaska delegation including Steven's son who was a state rep. This is all tied in to Big Oil (Vecco) in Alaska. It is interesting to note that Don Young is also been paying big bucks for lawyers in the last two months. The feds are about to bust up that little party they've been having in the frozen north.

Posted by Theresa, MSgt (ret), USAF | July 31, 2007 10:45 AM

So, if stevens is being investigated for what is essentially stealing, why in the hell aren't feinstein and murtha? They are both openly abusing their committee positions and lining their own pockets. murtha the mofo is so confident he is untouchable he publicly threatens other congress critters if they dare vote against ANY of his pet pork projects. And feinstein sat on committee handing out military contracts to her husbands companies, not just once, but over the course of years. Millions of taxpayer dollars ended up in their personal bank account. They both need to be investigated by the IRS and the FBI just as stevens is. The congress is neck deep in corruption and like a dirty sewer, needs to be flushed out.

Posted by the fly-man | July 31, 2007 10:46 AM

NIce try. Ted Stevens is a Republican, apparently a very Corrupt one. The idea that there is a bipartisanship element attached to his corruption based on his earmarks is total BS. Pure smoke screen tactic. He is a Republican.Your conflations are outrageous and disingenuous. Wanna talk about earmarks go right ahead, but to tar the Democrats as equally corrupt based on this greedy bastards actions is total bullshit.

Posted by Jim | July 31, 2007 10:50 AM

Question for any of the resident Lefty Trolls:

Did your fellow leftists condemn - oh, let's pick an example, William "the Fridge" Jefferson on your leftist sites (you know, the ones conservatives get banned from posting on; unlike conservative sites like this which permit lefty trolls to stay) in anything approaching the same manner which conservatives vociferously condemn (and call for the removal of) corrupt Repub politicians? Does corruption among Dems get ANY notice or generate ANY condemnation on sites like Kos?

Please answer.

Posted by Monkei | July 31, 2007 11:05 AM

Here go you Jim ... there is a difference between Jefferson and Stevens, one has been indicted, the other not (yet). There is a difference between Cunningham and Jefferson, Cunningham has been convicted and in some club fed right now. So I fail to see what your real question is. As they all approach the final chapter like Cunningham they will all be equal, neither GOP or Dem, just plain old felon (like Libby --- so far). Your thought process that liberals and dems have a special place for Jefferson in their heart is horribly wrong.

I think you can post all day long on KOS ... no one ever reads the comments and the format is nothing like this AND you don't even need to register, you can use any name and post anything you want in the comments section ... obviously your experience about KOS comes from O'Reilly, where on whose blog you can indeed be banned for saying anything against the big head ... and to agree with Bill you have to pay of course for that privilege.

Posted by filistro | July 31, 2007 11:45 AM

Hey Jim

I'm a Free Republic addict. I love the Freeper family, enjoy the format, chuckle at the clever graphics and the truly witty jokes.

A couple of years ago, between creative projects and needing a diversion, I signed up to become a Freeper. I got a screen name (same one I use here) and an easily-remembered password, and I was all set.

Timidly I logged on and posted a question to a relevant thread. It was an Ann Coulter thread, and I asked (politely... I'm always polite) if people didn't feel she often does more harm than good to the conservative image.

It was my one and only post as a Freeper.

I was instantly banned. I am still banned. Anytime I try to log on, I get a stern message that says:

Your posting privileges have been revoked.

It hurts, Jim. It really hurts. Oh wait... you're not Jim Robinson, are you?

And who is that scary guy in sunglasses and sports jacket who just turned up on my front porch?

Gulp... never mind. Really. Just forget I said anything, okay? Sorry to have bothered you. Sorry, sorry....

Posted by eaglewings | July 31, 2007 11:55 AM

It seems that the true corrupting influence is the 2.5 TRILLION dollars that four hundred thirty five human beings have control over (and by necessity only about half are needed to pork it over to 'deserving causes') and the power these four hundred have over the safety or ruination of legitimate enterprises. The problem for libs is the money that flows to politicians from business, but the real problem is the demands from politicians to businesses (ala the Godfather) of offers that businesses cannot refuse (If you don't pay X to such and such, then your interests will be adversely affected by Y legislation and/or you and your lobbyists will not get any hearing from Z politicians). The massive size of the federal government gives such Capitol Hill thuggery new depths.

Posted by Mark | July 31, 2007 12:06 PM


Follow the money. The people who benifit most from the bridge are the people who now own island land bought cheap that will be worth big bucks when the bridge brings people to the island.

Posted by Teresa | July 31, 2007 12:10 PM

I do condemn William Jefferson. He is obviously a crook and I know that Talking Points Memo -- a liberal blog -- went after him hard on the corruption charges.

The Stevens case is not even about using earmarks -- it is that he had extensive renovations done to his vacation home (including building a whole new story on it) that were paid for by a company whose CEO has already pled guilty to bribing other pols in Alaska including Steven's son. It is flagrant bribe taking.

Posted by Jim | July 31, 2007 12:58 PM

Hey Filistro,

Stay low and keep that tinfoil hat on, and the Cheney Mind control devices won't be able to find you. As for me, I don't read Free Rep, I've never posted there, and I don't know anything about Freepers. Sorry you got banned from that site. Seems kind of hard to believe, if your post was truly what you represent it to be. Oh well, at least you can still post on THIS site, without too much fear of men in their neocon jackboots knocking on your door at 2 am. What other conservative sites have you attempted a similarly "polite" post on, and have gotten banned from? Please list them.

Are you saying Filistro, and Monkei, that conservative posters do NOT get banned from leftist sites?

Monkei - I can assure you that if a Repub was caught with cash stashed in his freezer virtually ALL of the conservative blogs and their posters would be calling for his head, as conservatives did for clowns like Cunningham, and now possibly Stevens. My question is - are the liberal blogs (AND their posters) as hard on corruption allegations among their own dems as conservative blogs and their posters are on Repubs? Teresa has indicated that at least one liberal blog was. If so, that is refreshing news. Are there others? What did Kos have to say about Jefferson and his cash in the freezer? Anything? The party affiliation should not matter to people who abhor politicians being bought and sold like hookers. That is my point.

Finally, Monkei - don't make assumptions about people you know nothing about. You said "obviously your experience about KOS comes from O'Reilly, where on whose blog you can indeed be banned for saying anything against the big head ... and to agree with Bill you have to pay of course for that privilege." Nope. Bill O'Reilly as an Official Representative of Conservatism, is a fiction created by liberals who hate FoxNews because it is not left of center, as is CNN, CBS, ABC, and NBC. At least half if not the majority of conservatives (including me) can't stand that blowhard - who is not a conservative at all; but who appears to be attempting to be some sort of populist. (i.e., Rants against "secular progressives" but also rants against "Big Oil.") Never been to his site. Very rarely watch his show. Missed that Kos story of his entirely. People mistakenly assume that O'Reilly is a representative conservative mouthpiece because 100% of the Libs hate his guts and maybe only 50% of the conservatives do. But he isn't. (My wife refers to him as "a highly annoying but sometimes necessary evil" for some of the worthwhile causes he does champion in between updates on Natalie Holloway or Paris Hilton.)

As for Kos, I get a sampling of the sort of stuff that apparently appears there from sites like Rightwingnews.com (another site like this one, which mostly tolerates Lefty Trolls without banning them, Filistro. FYI. So go register and make some "polite" observations and see what happens. I'll look for you.) which I freely admit most likely presents a skewed image. Because I'm sure that not EVERYTHING that appears there (the No. 1 Liberal site I understand) is either hateful and venom filled vitriol and/or batsh--t crazy conspiracy theory - Bush is going to create a dictatorship, type of stuff.

Posted by filistro | July 31, 2007 1:30 PM

Hi Jim,

I don't post at any other blogs, right or left. I like CQ because

a.)it offers a vigorous exchange of opposing views
b.) the posters are funny and (for the most part) well-informed
c.) I think Captain Ed is a national treasure.

I don't even read lefty blogs. They are shrill and silly, and most of the posters seem about as mature and knowledgeable as my own offspring, which is really quite dispiriting.

Besides, I'm a conservative ( though not much a Republican these days.)

As for the over-arching question... which party does a better job of disciplining its own miscreants?.... I think this is where Republicans suffer from what I like to call the Vitter Effect. If you're going to proclaim yourself the arbiters of probity, virtue and good housekeeping, you can be sure people will notice the stain on your skirt (or your blue dress) a lot more readily.

As somebody has pointed out.. . everybody knows the Dems are rascals. (Most of them aren't even born-again, for goodness sake!) So why get all exercised when they behave in rascally ways?

And lastly, about that Neo-con on my doorstep... if Bill Kristol ever shows up out there, I will immediately release Edgar, my grandson's cranky pet rattlesnake, from his shady cage under the Virginia creeper.

It's fun talking to you. :-)

Posted by Captain Ed | July 31, 2007 1:38 PM

OK, OK, I take back the bong reference from yesterday ... ;-)

Thanks for the kind words!

Posted by Monkei | July 31, 2007 2:13 PM

Jim, you wrote a lot but you did not bother to agree with the fact that you can't be "kicked off" the DailyKos, anyone can post anything they want, using any name they want, something O'Reilly never mentions. But I will just assume that you understand now. But wait, I am not to assume anything about you, sorry!

The formats between DailyKos and the Captain's site are not even close. First of all you have to register with the Captain, secondly there is a give and take like we are having now. The KOS is a mere place to post comments, there is no back and forth. I assume that there are leftist blogs like this one where there is give and take, I don't know, I barely have enough time to read this one. I will be retired soon with nothing to do and at the end of the day I am sure I will only have half of even that finished, maybe then I can go to other sites and post up a storm!

as far as if they are as hard as the GOP is ... well quite frankly I don't see a lot of it either way, here on the CQ I see mostly the old tired GOP response of "they do it too!" But I can tell you this, if you check MOST left wing blogs they are totally not supporting Hillary. So what does that tell you? Nothing. If you go to any blog and they are totally left or totally right and don't allow postings like the Captain does, you are wasting your time. I.e. O'Reilly (where you have to pay to agree!)

It is refreshing to read your posts fillstro, especially nice to see an intelligent conservative who sees the difference between a conservative and a Bush supporter.

Posted by Jim | July 31, 2007 2:28 PM

Filistro - well we share common ground, in that I too am a conservative, but I am very disillusioned with the Republican party and (to use a cliche) feel that "I didn't leave the party, it left me" as a result of various issues, the latest being the amnesty debacle.

I also greatly value the Captain, and truly appreciate what he does too. "National Treasure" might be going a bit far however. Hmm. Ronald Reagan, Walt Disney,General Patton, The Beach Boys, Spiderman, ....and..... Captain Ed!! Well I guess it might fit. But it is a tight squeeze. :)

From my perspective however, I don't know that Repubs (or conservatives?) go around proclaiming themselves to be the "arbiters of probity, virtue and good housekeeping." See, I think there is a mistaken belief that, when a group of people sets high standards, if one of them in the group fails, it means the group must be a bunch of hypocrites and should forever after shut up.

If an individual himself professes the worthiness of upholding a set of (for want of a better description at the moment) 'moral values' in public, but then is busted sinning in private - does this negate or invalidate the principles of the group to which he belongs, stands for? The Left in its apparent cynical outlook on there being any sort of moral standards (as opposed to moral equivalencies) appears to think so - and uses individual transgressions and failings as "evidence" that the message is baloney and the messengers are hypocrites.

"See - they preach honesty and accountability, but look - - there is "one of their own" caught with his hand in the till!! AhhHAAAA - bunch of self-righteous hypocrites!!" Thing is, however, "when one of our own" is caught with his hand in the till, we want him thrown out.

You ask "everyone knows Dems are rascals, So why get all exercised when they behave in rascally ways?" Because a) do THEY view themselves as rascals, no matter what rascally things they do?; and b) everyone should be held to the same standards. And exposed to the SAME microscope.

Posted by LarryD | July 31, 2007 2:59 PM

Until the 17th Amendment was passed, US Senators were selected by their State's Legislators. The Senate, you see, was supposed to represent the States in Congress. The 17th Amendment is part of the reason Federalism has waned. I agree with Zell Miller, the 17th Amendment should be repealed.

I also want Term Limits for Congress, and the restoration of Impoundment

Posted by Ray | July 31, 2007 7:52 PM

"First of all you have to register with the Captain"

That's news to me, and I've been posting here for several weeks. I don't have a registered nic and I am never required to enter a password when I visit this site. Not once have I been unable to post a comment because I am not registered. I do accept cookies here, but that's so I don't have to keep entering my nic and e-mail address every time I post.

Posted by Ray | July 31, 2007 8:05 PM

If these allegations are true, it looks like, at the very least, he is facing the end of his career, which is probably a good thing. If he's convicted of corruption, I doubt he'll spend any time incarcerated due to his age but I can imagine that any fines he may face would be severe. Let's hope so, anyways.

Posted by Ray | July 31, 2007 8:25 PM

"Ah, the pigeons of pork come home to roost. (How's that for a mixed metaphor?)"

That's not bad at all!

It looks like the Pied Piper of Pork will be dancing to the court's tune after the Fat Lady starts singing 'Till the Cows of Corruption Come Home'.

Posted by Ed B | July 31, 2007 9:58 PM

Senator Stevens is more of a true democrat than most modern Dems. Our small states constituency are proud to vote for him wether DEM/Repub/independent. Pork,earmarks or call it equalizing money is due Alaska for shipping 20% of the USA's domestic crude for the last 30+ years. Has your home state shared as much in resouces that affect the price of gas/oil and all petroleum products?Innocent until proven guilty or not, he is a WW2 veteran that has more integrity than alot of others in DC

Posted by Cornellian | August 1, 2007 4:15 AM

Innocent until proven guilty or not, he is a WW2 veteran that has more integrity than alot of others in DC

I believe "far more integrity than a lot of others in DC" is what is known as damning with faint praise.

Posted by Jim | August 1, 2007 6:46 AM

Hey Ed B has a point!! Yet....I wish MY state of Florida had more of a "true democrat than most modern Dems. Our small states constituency [would be] proud to vote for him wether DEM/Repub/independent. Pork,earmarks or call it equalizing money is due FLORIDA for.......well, maybe not "shipping 20% of the USA's domestic crude for the last 30+ years," BUT....providing 20% of the nation's Sunshine, citrus fruit, top notch college football, great spring break destinations, retirement communities, and Mickey Mouse ears entertainment. Has YOUR home state shared as much in resources that affect the price and quality of all the above? WE deserve more "equalizing" money!!! [I just Love that Orwellian play on words to justify what might otherwise be considered unjustifiable - it ain't "PORK" it's "equalizing" money!!. It's not just Gin, Vermouth and an Olive - it's my...MEDICINE!! Snort]

More more more money!! And I want it to come out of the hides of those ingrate yankee taxpayers too!! Don't resist, or we're going to turn off the Sunshine, cut off your orange juice, shut down the Pirates of the Carribean ride, and your Mother in Law is moving in with YOU inside of getting a retirement condo in Del Boca Vista Phase II. You've been warned.

Posted by Artie Curtis | August 1, 2007 7:08 AM

It's time for the corrupt to go.
Stevens has been there too long it's time for him to go. The founders never intended Congress to be a lifetime job. I'm for term limits - two terms for a Senator and three for a Congressman.
I dont understand the people who keep electing these crooks time and time again. Is it lack of choice or lack of brains?
Get'em all out - start from scratch.
And yeah, I know about innocent until proven guilty. He's guaranteed that by a court of law but I personally owe him no such guarantee.