Sen. Stevens Indicted | Citizens Against Government Waste

Sen. Stevens Indicted

The WasteWatcher

On July 29, 2008, it was announced that Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) had been indicted by the Justice Department on seven counts of making false statements for failing to disclose $250,000 worth of gifts from a contractor.

While the Senator’s alleged failure to report the gifts does not directly involve earmarking, the allegations are related to the abuse of a member of Congress’s position in order to do favors for a donor.  Whether it is an earmark or a contract, it all stems from providing a benefit paid for by taxpayers in exchange for some form of support.

Sen. Stevens has helped bring home a total of 1,452 pork-barrel projects worth $3.4 billion between 1995 and 2008.  Alaska has been the number one state in pork per capita every year since 1999 in CAGW’s Congressional Pig Book.  Among his many “Oinker Awards,” Sen. Stevens won the “The Cold Hard Cash Award” for $165.7 million in defense pork in the 2008 Pig Book.  Some of his more infamous earmarks include $25 million for a supercomputer at the University of Alaska to study how to trap energy from the aurora borealis; $750,000 for grasshopper research; $500,000 for the Alaska Spruce Bark Beetle Task Force; $200,000 for the city of North Pole for recreation improvements; and $176,000 for the Reindeer Herder’s Association.

Sen. Stevens was also a staunch defender of the “Bridge to Nowhere” on the Senate floor in 2005.  He threatened to resign his seat, saying he would become a “wounded bull on the floor of this Senate” and that he would have to be “taken out of here on a stretcher” if the project was removed.

Amazingly, the incarceration of two members of Congress and the conviction or confession of numerous staff members in relation to earmarks has done little to reign in the proliferation of pork on Capitol Hill.  

Disdain for Congressional earmark reform was best expressed by CAGW’s July Porker of the Month, Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) who said, “There’s no way in hell I would support banning earmarks. That’s our job, getting elected and making decisions.  Yes, there are bad earmarks, like there are bad members of Congress.  And what you do is get rid of them.”  Voters will get their chance to weigh in on that statement in November. 

Rep. Mica and his colleagues would do well to heed President James Monroe’s prophetic admonishment in 1822 that federal money should be limited “to great national works only, since if it were unlimited it would be liable to abuse and might be productive of evil.”

As for Sen. Stevens, in hindsight, it might have been preferable had he chosen the stretcher.  Instead, he may end up leaving in handcuffs.

Alexa Moutevelis


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