Jake Tapper and Theresa Cook
July 29, 2008
COMMENT: What about administration officials who knowingly made false statements and propagated false intelligence about Iraq’s chemical, biological and WMD weapons– and led the U.S. into war under false pretenses. Why can none of these individuals be indicted, impeached and otherwise held accountable? The consequences of those lies have been a great deal more costly than $250,000 in undue influence.
Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Ala., one of 18 Republican Senators running for reelection this year, was indicted today by the Department of Justice for seven felony counts of making false statements.
The 28-page indictment charged that Stevens “knowingly and intentionally sought to conceal and cover up his receipt of things of value by filing Financial Disclosure Forms that contained false statements and omissions” regarding $250,000 in gifts of value.
“Senator Stevens accepted gifts from a privately held company called VECO,” said Matthew Friedrich, acting assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s criminal division, describing myriad renovations to Stevens’ house that the oil services company VECO paid for.
These included, Friedrich said, renovations to Steven’s home such as a first floor, a wrap-around deck, “a new Viking gas range, a tool storage cabinet and an automobile exchange in which Senator Stevens received a new vehicle worth far more than what he provided in exchange” — namely a 1999 Land Rover Discovery swapped out for Stevens’ 1964 1/2 Ford Mustang and $5,000.
The former chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee has held his Senate seat since 1968 and has become known for his temper, his Incredible Hulk ties, and for the profligate spending he showered upon Alaska, perhaps best encapsulated by the infamous “bridge to nowhere.” Stevens is only the 11th sitting U.S. senator in American history to be indicted.