Friday, May 8, 2009

Clean-Up II


A commenter—“ToxicTom”—has asked another question that deserves its own post.

The comment was:

“Is Ted Stevens being investigated for any other shenanigans? The earmarks for the Alaska Seafood Marketing group that Ben Stevens doled out to companies he ‘consulted’ for and the Trevor McCabe property deal in Seward come to mind.”

The short answer is that Ted Stevens may well be under continuing criminal investigation, but he is unlikely to face further federal prosecution given his age of 85 and the way the first case against him involving financial disclosure violations crashed and burned after the trial due to allegations of prosecutorial misconduct. Under these circumstances, the Department of Justice seems like to file new charges against Ted Stevens only if they allege crimes:

(1) everybody would agree are serious

(2) supported by mounds of evidence

(3) presented in a context in which the prosecution turns over all possible evidence that could be considered exculpatory.

The commenter alludes to some things long speculated on. A number of those following the federal investigation into Alaska public corruption have thought the greatest exposure for Ted Stevens involved his role in federal fisheries legislation, particularly in relation to his son Ben’s lucrative consulting contracts with some of the beneficiaries of that legislation. Ben Stevens seemed particularly likely to be criminally charged in the probe, both because of his multiple ties with suspicious-looking fisheries deals and because former VECO executives Bill Allen and Rick Smith have pleaded guilty to bribing him regarding oil-tax legislation under consideration while Ben Stevens was President of the Alaska State Senate.

Something seems to have slowed down the prosecution of Ben Stevens, however. The federal investigation into Alaska public corruption continues, however, and Ben Stevens would seem likely to continue to be a big target. Ted Stevens, on the other hand, appears much less likely to face prosecution again.

Remember two caveats on all of the above. Both Ben Stevens and Ted Stevens deny wrongdoing as to anything involving federal fisheries legislation as well as all other allegations. And all this speculation comes from the same guy that told you that Ted Stevens would never testify at his trial.