Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ted Stevens indicted!

In a development that seems certain to produce unprecedented levels of bipartisan blogospheric schadenfreude, U.S. Senator Ted "Series of Tubes"/"Bridge to Nowhere" Stevens of Alaska -- widely reviled by liberals, pork-busting conservatives, and techies of all political persuasions -- has been indicted by a federal grand jury on corruption charges:

Mr. Stevens, 84, was indicted on seven counts of falsely reporting income. The charges are related to renovations on his home and to gifts he has received. They arise from an investigation that has been under way for more than a year, in connection with the senator’s relationship with a businessman who oversaw the home-remodeling project. ...

Mr. Stevens’s troubles are not linked to [Jack Abramoff]. Instead, they stem from his ties to an oil executive whose company won millions of dollars in federal contracts with the help of Mr. Stevens, whose home in Alaska was almost doubled in size in the renovation project.

Mr. Stevens is a former chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and he is still on the panel. As chairman, he wielded huge influence, and did not hesitate to use it to steer money and projects to his state.

“No other senator fills so central a place in his state’s public and economic life as Ted Stevens of Alaska,” the Almanac of American Politics says. “Quite possibly, no other senator ever has.”

Stevens, the longest-serving Republican U.S. Senator, would be fourth in line to the presidency if the GOP were to regain control of the Senate. But, barring a party switch by Joe Lieberman prior to the January 2009 congressional inaugurations, that eventuality appears as remote as ever. Stevens's indictment would seem to greatly increase the chances of Democrats picking up a Senate seat in Alaska, to go with the 3 to 7 other GOP seats that Dems are likely to "flip" in November. (Source: Five Thirty Eight.)

P.S. The Anchorage Daily News has complete coverage.