I have a couple of thoughts on this subject. Many of you will remember that former Senator Ted Stevens from Alaska was indicted on federal charges some time ago. He was convicted of seven counts of felony corruption. It was an embarrassment for the Republican Party, at a time when they certainly didn’t need any further embarrassment. It seems some things have changed in regard to his case, certainly the tone against him from Washington has changed as well. I decided that I would address this from both sides of the issue because I think doing so demonstrates the game politicians are playing with us.
Stevens was convicted last year of lying on a Senate disclosure form in order to hide $250,000 in gifts he received from an oil company executive and friends. Stevens was accused of knowingly and repeatedly filing false financial reports with the Senate between 2000 and 2006 that understated or omitted gifts or other benefits that he got from an oil executive and others, including what the government alleges were more than $240,000 in improvements to Stevens’ residence in Alaska, an Alaskan sled dog, a $2,700 massage chair and a “sweetheart trade” in which he got a $44,000 Land Rover in exchange for a 34-year-old Mustang and $5,000.
Now I cannot tell you whether Stevens did anything wrong. I know he was able to show receipts for $160k for renovations on the house that he paid for, which he claims covered the entirety of the work done. But as for whether he did something wrong, I simply don’t know the answer to that. But I do know this:
His trial was conveniently scheduled during the campaign leading up to his reelection bid in Alaska. So while his opponent was out actively campaigning in the weeks leading up to the election, he was under federal indictment and spending all of his days in a Washington courtroom for a month long trial. He was convicted 10 days before the election. As a result he narrowly lost the election. I would say partly because he wasn’t there to campaign and partly because the allegations against him made many people choose not to vote for him. Sounds like the status quo political games that are played these days.
And whatever he did do, I have absolutely zero doubt that he was not guilty of anything that the rest of the members of Congress do. But the Democrats continued to pile on in an effort to eliminate a candidate that might keep them from having a filibuster proof Senate majority. It is in this way that the hypocrisy of the members of Congress kills me. When someone gets busted for doing something wrong, the rest of the members of Congress come out and express their outrage. They pretend that they are not just as crooked as he might be. Look at the things that we have seen come to light since then:
Barney Franks literally in bed with Freddie Mac, Chris Dodd in bed with AIG, 4 selections by the Obama team that tried to scam their way out of paying the taxes they would prosecute us for not paying. And don’t give me any of that they made a mistake bullshit. Members of Congress, State Governors, and heads of the Federal Reserve don’t make a mistake when it comes to taxes. Maxine Waters getting bailout money for her husband’s bank… The list goes on and on. I don’t believe that there is an honest member of Congress, period. There are two types of people in the United States Congress: Criminals and people who haven’t been caught yet.
So back to Senator Stevens. Only after the conviction did allegations of FBI misconduct come to light. The judge in the case has repeatedly delayed sentencing Stevens, and at one point he held prosecutors in contempt. Justice Department officials later replaced the trial team. Defense lawyers had throughout the trial accused the prosecution of misconduct, including withholding evidence. One of the key allegations is that prosecutors might have tried to make certain that a witness who would have been useful to the defense never testified. A whistleblower at the FBI supported the defense claim in a complaint filed in December. And there have been other explosive allegations since the trial ended, including that the lead FBI agent on the case might have a had inappropriate relationship with Allen, the government’s star witness, and that the agent was allegedly telling potential witnesses about grand jury information before trial.
Odd that we would find misconduct in a trial involving government versus a government official. Again, Stevens may be crooked as can be, but it is obvious that he was not given a fair trial and was convicted in late October, just two weeks before the election. It isn’t any wonder that he didn’t win. The Democrats gained a Senate seat, and the ability to pass a monumental spending bill by convincing three Republicans to cross the line.
And now there is this:
The U.S. Justice Department filed a motion Wednesday to drop its case against Ted Stevens. Attorney General Eric Holder decided to abandon the case due to prosecutorial misconduct — one Justice Department source called the stunning turnaround a “black eye” on the department and the FBI. Stevens sought to dismiss the case, and Wednesday’s action in effect supports his request. A hearing has been set for April 7.
In a written statement released Wednesday morning, Stevens suggested he would have fared better in his losing November election had it not been for the “unfair” case against him. “I always knew that there would be a day when the cloud that surrounded me would be removed. That day has finally come,” Stevens said. “It is unfortunate that an election was affected by proceedings now recognized as unfair. It was my great honor to serve the state of Alaska in the United States Senate for 40 years.”
“After careful review, I have concluded that certain information should have been provided to the defense for use at trial. In light of this conclusion, and in consideration of the totality of the circumstances of this particular case, I have determined that it is in the interest of justice to dismiss the indictment and not proceed with a new trial,” Holder said in a statement released shortly after the motion was filed Wednesday. Holder reportedly decided Tuesday to dismiss the original indictment rather than proceed to more hearings that might embarrass the department.
Stevens’ attorneys claimed the government “disregarded the Constitution” by going through with the prosecution. “The misconduct of government prosecutors, and one or more FBI agents, was stunning. Not only did the government fail to disclose evidence of innocence, but instead intentionally hid that evidence and created false evidence that they provided to the defense,” said attorneys Brendan V. Sullivan Jr. and Robert M. Cary.
Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski said she was happy with the news, but troubled by the implication. “I was pleased with the news that the Justice Department will drop all charges against Senator Ted Stevens, but I am deeply disturbed that the government can ruin a man’s career and then say ‘never mind.’ There is nothing that will ever compensate for the loss of his reputation or leadership to the State of Alaska,” she said.
Holder is being praised for having the integrity to step in and support the case for dismissal. I am not so kind. I think that at this point, an 85 year old Stevens will not run for election in 6 years when he is again able to challenge the Democrat that took his seat, Mark Begich. The Democrats have the seat. There is no reason to make Stevens a target any longer. If there was a reason, they wouldn’t be making the move they are.
They will attempt to spin this as being fair and tell the public “see when we see wrong we fix things regardless of the fact that Stevens is a Republican”. I say bull, you are only willing to let him go because he is no longer a threat to your socialist agenda.
And the bottom line is this: He shouldn’t be let go. He should be re-tried. There won’t be a retrial but there should be. If he did nothing wrong, he should have his day in court, where the government can attempt to prove their case against him without misconduct. If they can’t he goes free, if they can, then we find that there really isn’t an honest member of Congress.
But that won’t happen. See in the end, these folks on Capital Hill protect each other. Because they are members of the same fraternity. Republicans and Democrats alike. They are both out to get you. Some of us have gotten paranoid these days, watching over our shoulders for what government will do to us next. Others have stopped looking. But as the saying goes, “Just because you aren’t paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you”