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After a L.A. <em>Times</em> story, the senior GOP Senator and Appropriations Chairman could face scrutiny for investments that benefited from government assistance.

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Will Senate Ethics Committee Probe Ted Stevens?

After a L.A. Times story, the senior GOP Senator and Appropriations Chairman could face scrutiny for investments that benefited from government assistance.

Will the Senate Ethics Committee deal with the question of whether the most senior senator became wealthy through investments in interests that benefited from government assistance secured with his help?

Thanks to a December 17 story in the Los Angeles Times, the issue of whether to probe the dealings of Senate Appropriations Chairman Ted Stevens (R.-Alaska) will face Ethics Chairman George Voinovich (R.-Ohio) and the bipartisan panel when they return from the Christmas recess.

The Times reported:

1. “Armed with the power his committee posts give him over the Pentagon, Stevens helped save a $450-million military housing contract for an Anchorage businessman. The same businessman made Stevens a partner in a series of real estate investments that turned the senator’s $50,000 stake into at least $750,000 in six years.”

2. “An Alaska Native company that Stevens helped create got millions of dollars in defense contracts through preferences he wrote into law. Now the company pays $6 million a year to lease an office building owned by the senator and his business partners. Stevens continues to push legislation that benefits the company.”

3. “An Alaskan communications company benefited from the senator’s activities on the Commerce Committee. His wife, Catherine, earned tens of thousands of dollars from an inside deal involving the company’s stock.”

After the Times story was published, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), which has long dogged Stevens for steering billions of federal dollars into his home state, denounced the senator as someone who “thinks he can get away with anything in the pursuit of a plush retirement.” CAGW called for the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate Stevens. Another watchdog group, Project on Government Oversight, demanded that Stevens relinquish the Appropriations gavel.

For his part, the longest-serving Republican in the Senate told reporters in Anchorage that he has violated no Senate rules, that he has only been a “passive investor” in the ventures in which he has placed his money, and that after 35 years in the Senate, it would be hard for him to invest his money anywhere in Alaska without someone seeing a conflict of interest. Stevens added that anyone who thought he would resign as chairman because a newspaper story was “crazy.”

Written By

John Gizzi has come to be known as â??the man who knows everyone in Washingtonâ? and, indeed, many of those who hold elected positions and in party leadership roles throughout the United States. With his daily access to the White House as a correspondent, Mr. Gizzi offers readers the inside scoop on whatâ??s going on in the nationâ??s capital. He is the author of a number of popular Human Events features, such as â??Gizzi on Politicsâ? and spotlights of key political races around the country. Gizzi also is the host of â??Gizziâ??s America,â? video interviews that appear on HumanEvents.com. Gizzi got his start at Human Events in 1979 after graduating from Fairfield University in Connecticut and then working for the Travis County (Tex.) Tax Assessor. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including Fox News Channel, C-SPAN, America's Voice,The Jim Bohannon Show, Fox 5, WUSA 9, America's Radio News Network and is also a frequent contributor to the BBC -- and has appeared on France24 TV and German Radio. He is a past president of the Georgetown Kiwanis Club, past member of the St. Matthew's Cathedral's Parish Council, and secretary of the West End Friends of the Library. He is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence and was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002. John Gizzi is also a credentialed correspondent at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He has questioned two IMF managing directors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Christine LaGarde, and has become friends with international correspondents worldwide. Johnâ??s email is JGizzi@EaglePub.Com

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