Sen. Ted Stevens may have been convicted yesterday, but his saga continues. Which occupation saw a 13% rise in wealth over the past year? Congressman! That and more in today's news:
Yesterday, Sen. Ted Stevens became the first sitting senator to be convicted of a felony since Sen. Harrison Williams in 1981. Despite the seven convictions for filing false statements to the government, Sen. Stevens vowed to fight on and appeal his conviction on the grounds that the prosecution was flawed, "I am innocent. This verdict is the result of the unconscionable manner in which the Justice Department lawyers conducted this trial." Stevens' chances in his quest for reelection appear to have dimmed as presidential candidate John McCain, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman John Ensign all rebuked the convicted Alaska statesman. Still standing by Stevens is Alaska's lone representative in Congress, Don Young. Young's endorsement of Stevens' innocence was marred by Young's praise for and comparison of another political figure to Sen. Stevens, "I think he can win. He's the best thing for that, for the Senate. Alaskans know this. [...] I think that's going to be, you know, a matter of opinion. I can remember Richard Nixon, you know, his years of service, what he's done, and everybody were ridiculing him and he ended up being the greatest president in the history of our century." With friends like these...
Over the past year, members of Congress saw their collective wealth increase by 13%, according to personal financial disclosure data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics. McClatchy reports that 2 out of 3 senators are millionaires, while 39% of the entire body of 535 members are also worth more than $1 million. As the paper points out, "Only 1 percent of all Americans are considered millionaires."
MAPLight.org released a study looking at in-state vs. out-of-state campaign contributions to members of the House of Representatives. The findings are noteworthy, "Virtually all House members, 97%, raised more than half of their funds from out-of-district (408 out of 421 members)." Check out the report and this graphic below (which is interactive at the MAPLight site):