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)