Just in case anyone wasn’t sure, here’s Harry Reid’s take last night, on convicted felon Ted Stevens’ chances of surviving in the Senate should he be re-elected.
“He’s been convicted of seven felonies,” Reid said on CNN’s “Late Edition.” “He’s not going to be in the Senate.”
The majority leader was a bit more gentle about Stevens’s close friend, Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye (D), who campaigned for the Republican in Alaska during the time-consuming trial and will soon assume the chairmanship of the powerful Appropriations Committee after West Virginia Sen. Robert C. Byrd announced Friday he would be stepping aside.
“I just said Senator Inouye is wrong,” Reid said. “All the Republicans, John Ensign [Nev.], head of the Republican senatorial campaign committee, Republican leader [Mitch] McConnell [Ky.] and a long list of people said that he’s going to be kicked out of the Senate. Of course he is. He is not going to survive.”
(Tangent: So Senator Inouye who is 84 years old, is trying to help Ted Stevens who is 84 years old, keep his job. And he is also replacing Robert Byrd who will turn 91 next week, as the Chair of the Appropriations Committee. Can anyone say “Term Limits?!?”)
Not sounding too good for Uncle Ted. I wonder if he’s secretly hoping to lose, so that he doesn’t have to face the humiliation of expulsion. What a way to end a career of four decades in the Senate. Ouch.
There’s another thing that nobody seems to be talking about much. This may not be the only trouble in Ted Stevens’ future. There’s a whole lot of unanswered questions, and ongoing investigation into some dealings with Ted, and his son, former State Senate President Ben Stevens.
Back in September of 2007, while local talk radio personality Dan Fagan was talking about the legal problems of the Stevenses, Ben was listening in. And Ben decided to call the radio station. Now, keep in mind that Ben Stevens had his Senate office raided by the FBI back in 2006.
Ben Stevens is under investigation by the FBI, the IRS and the the National Marine Fisheries Service, but maintained his innocence and called this whole investigation a “feeding frenzy” and a “blood bath.” The show’s host, Dan Fagan asked him about the Alaska Fisheries Marketing Board, where Stevens and his father’s former top legislative aide, Trevor McCabe, served together while simultaneously accepting consulting fees from the very companies they awarded federal grants. The grants themselves, of course, came from Ben’s dad.
“I didn’t receive anything [while on the board],” Stevens told Fagan. “I’ve got a 30-year relationship with the fishing business. I’ve been working for many companies and many entities and some of that overlapped, but it didn’t have anything to do with what happened on that board.”
Unfortunately for Ben, the facts don’t support his story. Stevens and McCabe founded their fishing consulting company in the last week of 2002, immediately before the marketing board started accepting applications for federal grants. It’s unclear how much money the duo raked in running the company, Advance North, but Stevens listed accepting $775,435 from nine fishing companies on his public disclosure forms between 2001 and 2005.
And how did Stevens and McCabe get these nice seats? The elder Stevens created the marketing board and funded it with $29 million, but Ben claims nepotism played no part in his getting the job of chairman.
“My father didn’t appoint me to the board, Dan,” Stevens said on the radio. “I was appointed to the board by the governor and confirmed by the Secretary of Commerce. The board members elected me as the chairman, not my father.”
He forgot to mention who submitted his name for nomination — that would be his dad.
And yes, Alaskans know all about this one too. They do seem to harbor fonder feelings for Stevens the Elder than they do toward Stevens the Lesser, who stepped down from his State Senate seat to…..wait for it…..spend more time with his family. It was almost universally believed that Ben Stevens would be convicted first. When people heard the news, they kept saying, “Ted? Are you sure it’s not Ben? It’s TED?!?”
So this whole “Failure to disclose gifts on Senate Disclosure Forms” may only be the tip of the iceberg. The FBI works in mysterious ways. Now that the election is (almost) over, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to hear from them again.