By now, you’ve probably heard that agents from the FBI and the IRS raided the home of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, who has been under investigation for his links to Veco Corp., whose executives have been among his top contributors over the years (and top contributors to quite a few others as well. A pair of them have also pled guilty to bribing some state lawmakers.
One of the issues federal agents are investigating is the role Bill Allen, the company’s CEO, played in arranging renovations to Stevens’ home, which doubled its size. Stevens says he paid for the renovations out of his own pocket.
This raises a question I’ve thought of before but have never seen satisfactorily answered — how many kinds of favors are there that someone can do for a lawmaker that don’t necessarily leave a paper trail? If someone uses his time, connections, expertise and so on to help a senator hire the right contractor, it doesn’t necessarily leave any kind of record. The senator gets a thing of value–perhaps the best price or the finest quality or the fastest service–thanks the efforts of this benefactor. Perhaps it’s not the name of the company to hire, but a whispered stock tip that pays off handsomely or an invitation to be in on the ground floor of a can’t-miss real estate development.
In any case, our friends at Taxpayers for Common Sense are asking Sen. Mitch McConnell to ask Stevens to recuse himself from his committee work. Don Surber notes that Alaska has a dubious trio of lawmakers. It’s pretty indicative of the state of affairs of the North to the Future state that the Anchorage Daily News has a tab on this page that says, “More Alaska Political Corruption Stories,” which takes the reader to this catalog.