Senator Ted Stevens was convicted today on all 7 counts of lying on his financial disclosure forms. Details from the Alaska Daily News:
Jurors found Stevens, 84, guilty of willfully filing false financial-disclosure forms that hid such gifts as a $2,695 massage chair, a stained glass window, a sled dog and renovations that doubled the size of his Girdwood home. Those gifts, valued at as much as $250,000 over seven years, came mostly from his former friend Bill Allen, the star prosecution witness in Stevens’ trial and the former owner of Veco Corp.
Stevens is the longest running Republican senator, and he is currently up for reelection this year against Democratic challenger Mark Begich. Stevens conviction today does NOT preclude him from continuing his reelection bid, nor would it remove him from his Senate seat. It would take a two-thirds Senate vote to ask Stevens to leave the Senate.
Stevens released a statement following the verdict that accused prosecutors of misconduct and announced his intention to remain a U.S. Senate candidate on the Nov. 4 ballot. Stevens stated:
I am obviously disappointed in the verdict but not surprised given the repeated instances of prosecutorial misconduct in this case,” Stevens said. “I will fight this unjust verdict with every ounce of energy I have.
Sarah Palin has not called on Stevens to resign, stating that:
I’m confident Senator Stevens will do what’s right for the people 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.
Stevens endorsed Palin’s candidacy for Vice President on September 3, 2008, stating:
I think she can do the job as vice president. And should it fall on her shoulders to become president of the United States, I have no fear.
On July 2, 2008, Shortly after his indictment, Palin and Stevens sat down together:
Mudflats has ruminations on the end of the Ted Stevens era.
After witnessing politician after politician in Alaska ride off into the sunset to various private prisons scattered across the Lower 48, we are all struck with that old adage that “power corrupts”. I chatted with Mark Begich the other day and asked him how he was doing. He said he was hanging in there, but that these last few days felt like a lifetime. The next time I see him, I’m going to ask him how he is doing. Then I’m going to grab his tie, and pull him forehead-to-forehead. Then I’m going to look him square in the eyes from two inches away and say, “Don’t. Screw. Up.” The Democrats have a golden opportunity to be the white knights, and restore a modicum of respect to Alaskan politics. But power corrupts unless we are on our guard….however many years, or decades we hold elected office.
Palin has missed ANOTHER opportunity to do the right thing. For a candidate running on a platform of REFORMING Washington from its corrupt ways, she has certainly highlighted the hypocrisy in her candidacy once again. A measured response is appropriate for an indictment, but ladies and gentlemen of the Moose, Stevens has been FOUND GUILTY under our judicial system. There is no longer a presumption of innocence.
Mudflats has the skinny coming out of the Alaskan wilderness on the fall of the Stevens empire with the Alaska Republican party apparently rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.
McHugh Pierre, spokesman for the Alaska Republican Party, has come out with this statement:
We need to continue to support Sen. Stevens. We need to vote for him because a vote for him is a vote for a conservative candidate, a Republican who best represents the interests and beliefs of Alaskans. … We don’t know what happens in the future. But if you don’t want Mark Begich, you vote for Ted Stevens.
OH MAN, I heart Mudflats:
You heard it here, kids. The Alaskan Republican Party has just reaffirmed their endorsement of, and told you to vote for A CONVICTED FELON! You show ’em Alaska Republicans! Hold your head high, walk in to the voting booth with the blessing of your political party, fill in that little oval, and vote with impunity for A CONVICTED FELON! Drive home with a satisfied smile, kiss your spouse, and say, “What did you do today, Honey? I voted for A CONVICTED FELON!” Proudly call your friends and relatives out of state, and tell them how you, and all your buddies in the Republican party, puffed out your chests, and proudly hitched your wagon to the star of an 84-year old CONVICTED FELON! Maybe you should call your local party headquarters and suggest a fundraiser…you could do t-shirts, and hats that say, “I VOTED FOR A CONVICTED FELON!”
Then, put your feet up, and watch the national news, and watch a couple political talk shows, and wonder to yourself, “How did Alaska become a laughing stock?”
So, what do you think, fellow Moosekateers? Any takers on what the Republican spin machine is going to be on this one?