Monday, October 27, 2008
United States Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska was convicted Monday on seven counts of failing to report gifts. Stevens, a senior United States Senator from Alaska and the longest serving Republican in the Senate, had been accused of not reporting tens of thousands of dollars worth of gifts from the VECO Corporation including free house remodeling. The jury in the District of Columbia found Stevens guilty on all seven counts.
Bill Allen, VECO’s CEO, is a longtime friend of Stevens and much of the case involved the specific interaction between Stevens and Allen. Allen had been previously convicted and had agreed to testify against Stevens and to record conversations he had with Stevens. The gifts given to Stevens included a massage chair that Stevens claimed was a loan but prosecutors noted was in Stevens house for over seven years.
Stevens is up for reelection and was facing a tough reelection bid before the convictions. It is unlikely that Stevens will retain his seat in the Senate given the convictions.
Stevens is considered to be a moderate Republican and was a member of the Republican Main Street Partnership. While a long-time Senator with many accomplishments, Stevens is known to many for a speech against net neutrality in which he referred to the internet as a series of tubes.
The New York Times has speculated that out-going United States President George W. Bush might pardon Stevens.