Stevens Indicted

Today’s news is a lot like yesterday’s news: a Republican broke the law:

Sen. Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican in the U.S. Senate and one of the chamber’s most powerful members, was indicted Tuesday in Washington for failing to disclose more than $250,000 worth of gifts that he received from businessmen who were seeking his help on federal issues and projects…

The seven-count indictment charges Stevens with making false statements by failing to disclose things of value he received from the VECO Corp., an Alaska-based oil services compmany, and from its CEO, Bill Allen, over an eight-year period.

The indictment charges that among the undeclared items were substantial improvements to Stevens’ home in Girdwood, Alaska; automobile exchanges in which he received new vehicles that were worth far more than the old ones he exchanged; and household goods, including a Viking gas grill.

At the time, the indictment charges, Allen and other VECO employees solicited Stevens for “multiple official actions . . . knowing that Stevens could and did use his official position and his office on behalf of VECO during that same time period.”

According to the indictment, VECO sought funding and other aid for projects in Pakistan and Russia, federal grants and help building a natural-gas pipeline in Alaska’s North Slope

At this point it is hard for there to be any political news which does not raise the question as to whether it will impact the presidential election. Jonathan Martin thinks this will have more impact on whether the Democrats can obtain sixty seats in the Senate as opposed to the presidential race as McCain and Stevens “battled frequently.”