TPM Muckraker captured some great audio of Sen. Ted Stevens lashing out at constituents asking questions about his current legal predicament. To me, the last question was by far the most interesting. There’s a transcript of the last Q&A after the video.
Q: I’ve been following the news lately and they were mentioning that you supported an ethics bill in 1989 that Congress had passed, it was an amended ethics and government bill that said that members of Congress needed to disclose their financial reports, anything exceeding $200, and now your defense team is saying that’s unconstitutional, and I’m just wondering if you can talk to us Alaskans about how that’s unconstitutional in 2008 but in 1989 that was satisfactory. A: As I’ve said before, I haven’t seen that pleading, it was filed by my lawyers in Washington, they’ve been hired to do it- Q: OK well why don’t you give us your opinion, aside from what your lawyers are saying- A: I’m sorry I’m not going to give my opinion about what my lawyers have done that I haven’t read. So thank you very much, I don’t know who gave you that amendment, that question, but whoever gave you that question ask them.
That’s a pretty good question. From what I can tell, the Government Ethics Reform Act of 1989 passed the Senate by voice vote with an amendment attached. Also interesting, Sen. Stevens was an original cosponsor of the Ethics in Government Act of 1977, the law under which he is being prosecuted.