Monday, July 30, 2007

FBI raids GOP Senator's home

Well, having raided two Republicans (Rick Renzi, R-AZ and John Doolittle, R-CA) and one Democrat (William Jefferson, D-LA) in Congress it looks like the FBI corruption investigators have moved on to the Senate.

According to the Washingtonian Magazine, Stevens has retained "Washington's most powerful and expensive lawyer," Brendan Sullivan Jr.

Unlike the three congressmen (or for that matter like Duke Cunningham, R-CA or Bob Ney, R-OH who are presently in prison after being convicted of corruption) Stevens is not a small fish. He was elected to the Senate during the last year of the Johnson administration and has been Republican whip of the Senate (between 1977 and 1985). He has chaired the Senate Rules Committee and Appropriations Committee-- both positions of extraordinary power in the Senate. Stevens has been in the pocket of large media corporations which want to control the internet and oppose network neutrality. During the debate on it last year, Stevens displayed an astonishing lack of understanding even of his own bill as well as of technology and finally got so frustrated that he described the internet as 'a series of tubes.' And this was the guy who wrote and pushed through the Telecommunications Industry backed intenet bill, SB 2686, last year in the Senate.

Interestingly enough, as the senior Republican in the Senate, Stevens last year was President pro-tem. This means that he was (and should Republicans regain control of the Senate, will again be) the fourth person in line for the Presidency.

Ted Stevens is well known for pork barrel spending. Now, I'm not the opponent of pork that some on the right are, since I do believe that many projects classified as 'pork,' while they might be unprofitable from a purely monetary point of view, do benefit and make life better for some of our fellow American citizens and as such are things which are worthwhile doing. However, Stevens crossed the line IMO when he blocked the creation of a federal database which would allow people to see what the 'pork' projects are and how much they cost. I'm perfectly ready to defend a lot of 'pork,' but I fault Stevens for the fact that the projects and numbers are not out there for perusal on the internet like they should be. And now it seems he may be done in by pork, apparently personally benefitting from the largesse of a government contractor. How fitting an end, if it turns out to be so.

The culture of corruption still seems alive and well in Washington. Until it is swept out, we have to demand that ethics reform continue. This year's ethics reform bill, while better than the complete lack of it that we saw for the past few years, still is far less than what we as voters should be demanding.

1 comment:

Jesus Christ said...

New to blogs. You are on the right track. Keep it up.