Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Ak) was indicted by a federal grand jury on seven counts of making false statements on his Senate financial disclosure forms. Stevens – one of the most senior and powerful members of the Senate — has been under investigation for more than a year on corruption allegations resulting from his dealings with certain home-state businesses and Washington lobbyists.
According to the indictment, Stevens accepted gifts from VECO Corporation (an oil pipeline and construction services company) and its CEO, Bill J. Allen, totaling in value of more than $250,000.
At the time he received the gifts, Stevens received and accepted multiple solicitations for official actions from Allen and other VECO employees, according to the indictment. Those solicitations – alleged in paragraph 17 of the indictment — resulted in actions by Stevens using his office as a US senator to help VECO in international projects, gaining federal grants and contracts and assistance with federal and state issues regarding an effort to build a natural gas pipeline from the Alaska North Slope.
Curiously, those facts could have been the basis for an indictment against Stevens for accepting bribes, the Justice Department apparently – at this stage – lacks sufficient evidence to bring the more serious charges. That could come later.