Friday, September 14, 2007

More Trouble for Ted Stevens

A running theme here at Influence Peddler has been to ensure that the 2008 race isn't a repeat of the 2006 race -- at least insofar as ethics charges against Republicans go. In 2006 candidates were constantly answering questions about Bob Ney, Duke Cunningham, Mark Foley, and others. In 2008, will they find themselves defending... Ted Stevens?

Former VECO Corp. CEO Bill Allen admitted Friday to using company funds to pay some of the construction costs associated with Sen. Ted Stevens’ (R-Alaska) home remodeling project as well as using a small number of company employees to do the work.

Stevens’ attorney Brendan Sullivan, could not be reached for comment at press time.

Allen, testifying in federal court as part of a state-level bribery case, also said he gave Stevens furniture for the home. Additionally, Allen admitted to paying Stevens’ son, Ben, $4,000 a month while the younger Stevens served in the state Senate.

Although Ted Stevens has acknowledged VECO’s involvement in the home remodeling in the past, he has insisted the company’s role was limited to reviewing bills from contractors. He repeatedly has stated that he personally paid outside contractors for the work done on the house...

“I gave Ted some old furniture ... I don’t think there was a lot of material. There was some labor,” Allen said, according to The Associated Press, adding that between one and four VECO employees worked on the house for up to six months during 2000. Allen also admitted to visiting the work site every month or two.
OK - 'some labor,' 'some old furniture...' sounds like some buddies helping a pal set up a new apartment, right? What's the harm? Stevens probably bought beer and pizza for some friends, and that was it. After all, the place doesn't look like a palace.

I suppose that's a possibility.

But with ethics charges hovering over Stevens, Craig, Young, Doolittle, and others, Congressional leaders cannot afford to have faith in old friends. In each case, they better make sure that there's nothing to the charges, or that primary challengers are lined up.

More at the Politico, where there's more attention to the question of whether Stevens' son was bribed:
Allen told the court that that "he recruited Stevens in 1995 for work on behalf of VECO, well before Stevens was appointed to the state Senate in 2002, and that Stevens maintained a consulting contract with the company through 2006," the AP reported. Ben Stevens is former president of the Alaska Senate.
As long as it stays in the family...

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