Down the Toobz: Ted Stevens Indicted on Seven Counts

TV news is reporting that Ted "Toobz" Stevens has been indicted on seven counts of public corruption. (Update: A DOJ press conference is scheduled for 1:20.)

Wouldn’t you know that "Toobz" would go down based on electronic surveillance?

The FBI, working with an Alaska oil contractor, secretly taped telephone calls with Sen. Ted Stevens as part of a public corruption sting it was reported late last year, according to people close to the investigation.

The secret recordings suggest the Justice Department was eyeing Stevens long before June 2007, when the Republican senator first publicly acknowledged he was under scrutiny. At that time, it appeared Stevens was a new focus in a case that had already ensnared several state lawmakers.

The recorded calls between Stevens and businessman Bill Allen were confirmed by two people close to the case who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is still under way. They declined to say how many calls were recorded or what was said.

Stevens has two primary challengers, one who just started dumping money into the race and another self-financing millionaire. Update: There are six other Republicans on the primary ballot with Toobz. But the deadline for new candidates has passed, so the Republicans will be stuck with either Indicted-Toobz or one of the other six.

Update: CBS says they’re false statements charges.

A federal grand jury in Washington has handed up the indictment against Stevens — which the Justice Department is set to announce very shortly.

Stevens faces seven counts of false statements involving VECO, the oil services company in Alaska, and the renovations done on his home.

Update from the press conference–and with the indictment itself.  

Acting AAG, Criminal Division Matt Friedrich (he replaced Alice Fisher) said they didn’t go for bribery here bc they didn’t have a clear quid pro quo for VECO. It was more like Stevens was just VECO’s Senator.

Friedrich said they didn’t charge a tax violation bc these were gifts, and you don’t have to declare gifts on your taxes. 

Instead, they charged him generally for false statements, and then with one tied to each yearly financial disclosure from 2001 to 2006.  

  1. 4jkb4ia says:

    (My husband insisted on getting that book for his birthday. We were both very disappointed in it. I had to break to him that there was no story of Elphaba’s stirring rise to power)

  2. DefendOurConstitution says:

    Maybe now Republicans (and some Democrats) will reconsider their stance on electronic surveillance. I wouldn’t be surprized if they come up with a new version of FISA – one that exempts Congress from the wiretaps they authorized for the rest of us. I’m sure that in this case they had a warrant, but new FISA to be proposed will probably make it illegal to wiretap Congressperson with/without a warrant.

  3. bmaz says:

    This could well be good news for the Republicans. No, no, I am being halfway serious. If they put up a clean rich dude, their chances are probably better than they were with Stevens.

  4. DefendOurConstitution says:

    So many questions. Can Stevens run indicted? When is trial going to happen? Would the Senate remove him (remember that tough to overcome filibuster)?

  5. Neil says:

    I respond with this caveat, I have no idea what I’m talking about…

    Can Stevens run indicted? YES but he’ll have to decide is he’s going to. probably will to maintain posture of innocence

    When is trial going to happen? I don’t know if a trial date is set. Maybe a better question is: How soon in a case like this before a trial occurs?

    Would the Senate remove him ? No way, probably neither Democrats or Republicans will hold their own accountable until the jury delivers the verdict.

    Here’s my question: If nine more seats (make that ten because Lei-berman doesn’t count) is what the Dems need to overcome Republican obstruction in the Senate, do we have a better chance to obtain that with this news or not?

    • emptywheel says:

      I think we were likely to pick up this seat whether the indictment came before or after the election (though it sure helps the Republicans that it came before the primary).

      So Begich, a very strong candidate, will either run against indicted Toobz, or against someone without his name recognition. Palin’s out, since she’s got her own ethical problems and since the ballot deadline has passed.

      So I don’t think this increases our chance of 9, because in any count, Begich would be the fifth of sixth most likely pickup, not the eighth or ninth.

  6. AZ Matt says:

    Looks like Ted hung himself out to dry.

    (18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)(1))
    1999: A New 1999 Land Rover Discovery
    2000-2006: Improvements to the Girdwood Residence by VECO
    2000-200]: Improvements to the Girdwood Residence
    2002: Improvements to the Girdwood Residence by VECO
    2004-2005: Improvements to the Girdwood Residence by VECO
    2006: Improvements to the Girdwood Residence by VECO

    STEVENS’ 2001 Senate Financial Disclosure Form

    STEVENS’ 2002 Senate Financial Disclosure Form

    STEVENS’ 2003 Senate Financial Disclosure Form

    STEVENS’ 2004 Senate Financial Disclosure Form

    STEVENS’ 2005 Senate Financial Disclosure Form

    STEVENS’ 2006 Senate Financial Disclosure Form

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Thx for this synopsis.

      I hope fisheries biologists and oceanographers in many places are popping champagne corks at this news. Of all the wretched, corrupt political enablers of pollution, Toobz Stevens has to be in the Top 10.

      Bless whoever at the FBI landed this polluter.
      Damn. It should have happened 20 years ago, but it’s never too late.

  7. AZ Matt says:

    The naughty boy:

    The aggregate value of these things of value that STEVENS accepted was greater than $250,000.

    16. It was a further part of the scheme that STEVENS took multiple steps to conceal his continued receipt of things of value from ALLEN and VECO. During the nearly seven-year period in which STEVENS received multiple things of value from ALLEN and VECO, STEVENS filed and caused to be filed false annual Financial Disclosure Forms for the years 1999 to 2006 that did not report STEVENS’ receipt of any thing of value from ALLEN and VECO, either as gifts or as liabilities, as required. STEVENS also made and caused to be made multiple false representations to his friends, his staff, and the media concerning the improvements at the Girdwood Residence and STEVENS’ receipt of things of value from ALLEN and VECO.

    Do you think the Republican Brand will take a beating?

  8. DefendOurConstitution says:

    Is this a distraction from DOJ problems? Maybe Stevens was deemed as too weak and not loyal enough to Bush so DOJ threw him under the bus when report making it so clear that many laws have been broken in Bush DOJ came out. GOP could just be circling the wagons on USA firings now that trouble is right over the horizon.

    In any case, Stevens can cop a plea with some jail time and Bush will commute/pardon so Stevens doesn’t serve a day (where have I seen this before?).

    Another medal to the Bush legacy, longest serving Republican Senator indicted/convicted.

  9. Ishmael says:

    It will be interesting to see what Senator Stevens does now, and whether he decides to fight back with an eye on his political survival or the best interests of his family – at his age, he might be more interested in brokering a good deal for his son Ben, who is also exposed in all this and facing possible charges.

  10. Arbusto says:

    Isn’t receiving a “gift” of a monetary value, a taxable event, or required to be included in Senate financial disclosures? Can I get gifted my salary?

  11. BoxTurtle says:

    I was wondering what bright shiny object(s) would pop up after that Monica report. A cynic might suspect that this indictment was sat upon until it was needed.

    Boxturtle (A cynic might also suggest it would be wise for politicians to stay away from folks named “Monica”)

      • BoxTurtle says:

        I only wear tinfoil between 6:30 – 7:00pm Eastern and Sunday morning’s. The mind control satellites are working their hardest then.

        Boxturtle (Makes sure it’s tinfoil, aluminium foil DOES NOT WORK)

      • bmaz says:

        In case you have unused tin, I refer you to this post from the halcyon days of TNH. Turns out Mr. Freidrich, the point man you saw on TeeVee today announcing the Toobz demise, is knee deep in the Monica/Sampson/Karl/Iglesias situation. He is also out to make some bones for himself as he is considered to be a very up and comer within the Federalist/Gooper young stud attorney group. I predict he will nail Stevens to firm up his “law and order non-partisan” bonafides for the next time the conservatives are in power and he could get a judgeship or AG type of nod.

        Said this by mistake on the wrong post earlier, but perhaps Perle can use Stevens in Kurdistan what with his intimate knowledge of oil corruption and all.

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          Well… speaking of whether I’m posting this to the correct thread, or whether I ought to have put it on the previous thread, lookee what Ken Silverstein has up at Harper’s:

          The only thing I want to note here is the news in the indictment that Stevens allegedly used his office to assist VECO–the firm that “oversaw a construction project in 2000 that doubled the size of Stevens’ home”–with international projects in Pakistan and Russia

          Hmmmm… have Toobz and Weldon traveled together at all…?
          Perle is ‘investing’ in Kurdistan, with suspcious looking characters.

          But, as bmaz points out, the APPEARANCE of having these things under control is curiously strange if indeed the prosecutor is throwing Toobz under the bus in order to preserve the larger, amorphous networks.

          Curiouser and curiouser.

  12. stryder says:

    An older cowboy caller on cspan said they should take him out and waterboard him.
    Another said they should “round up all them republicans and shoot em”
    All old timers
    Things are looking up

  13. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Toobz Stevens likely demise is a useful thread on which to reiterate comments Glennzilla made about the propriety of fighting over issues during elections.

    In Glenn’s debate yesterday with Ed Kilgore, Kilgore essentially takes on the mantel of Karl Rove. Party unity is all important. Rule number two is that if you disagree with the Party, see rule number one. Protecting the Party’s opportunities and power is more important than considerations about what they do with it.

    In fact, other than voting for the Party, the electorate shouldn’t care – and should STFU – about what the Party does with its power. Some of it will trickle down to you, no matter what the Party actively does to undercut your interests. Rove, Bush and Cheney have spent nearly eight years of showing us how well that works, thank you.

    As this site has long noted, this election and the next several that follow will be battles between the Villagers — including nearly all incumbents other than the Feingolds and Waxmans — and everyone else. Those who believe in the rule of law and in a government responsive to the people will be characterized by the Villagers as leftist DFH’s who need to have their hands kept off the white lace of the government/corporate table cloth. Fine with me if we point out that we know where all the little forks go, but that the fat gents at the table are slobbering the barbecue sauce all waistcoats.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Ah, the political uses of Milton Friedman’s bogus economic logic, to wit:

      “The sole social responsibility of a corporation political party is to its shareholders funders and donors.”

      These people worship the Golden Calf of Wall Street and its Free, Unregulated, Market.
      At this point, if I hear or see Bernake, I only tune in for entertainment value: he’s a grain of sand in a cosmic windstorm.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        You mean Friedman-the-Self-Servant? Yup. That infamous piece of jargon, shareholder value, may go down in flames like Enron’s financials. For one thing, it’s just cover for management ruthlessness, an updated variation on Social Darwinism, which was neither social nor Darwinian. For another, management and somnolent corporate board directors reaped the benefits of that behavior, not shareholders.

        Most cannibalistically, Friedman’s mantra ignored the “value add” (don’t ya just love that incessant jargon?) contributed by employees, not to mention thousands of communities that gave up short-term tax revenue for a long-term relationship. By “community”, one should also read state, local and federal governments. As with Mr. Bush, loyalty in the corporate context is a one-way street.

      • Leen says:

        During Cass Sunsteins interview over at Democracy Now he mentioned he was a fan of Milton Friedman

  14. PetePierce says:

    Sounds about right for the Criminal Division after it was fucked up by Alice Fischer. They hit poor ole Ted with 18USC 1001 7 times, but hell no they won’t touch Goodling, Williams, and Sampson who are definitely subject to criminal prosecution for false statements.

    You have to understand how federal law is applied in the Bannana Republic US–it isn’t applied to members of the executive branch who were deployed to break the law by this administration. As long as you had Addington and Cheney’s blessing be you Miers and Gonzales who supervised the law breaking by Goodling and her sidekicks and Nowicki who is “on assignment” in Iraq helping to make more Dover coffins with dead people in them.

    And here is what to teach your kids and freshman law students: To get a “get out of indictment free pass” become an EOUSA or Main Justice employee and break the law during your tenure at DOJ. It nearly always works.

    Have a gambling problem coupled with a hooker problem? Get stabbed to death eighty eleventy times and thrown in a creek and they’ll cover it up even after you’re dead. No problemo.

    DOJ will fuck you if you’re not their own–anorgasmically.

    • randiego says:

      I remember that Baltimore case from when i lived in DC. That was a weird one – smelled pretty fishy.

      I think both of you guys have it about right. This is made and timed to look like the DOJ isn’t completely corrupt.

      I think ol’ Ted was going down anyway, so better to take credit for it now.

      PS – Earthquake felt down here from 110 miles away. Gentle swaying and rolling at my desk – made me a little dizzy actually.

  15. bmaz says:

    Today an indictment against what was, until not very long ago, the the number 3 person in succession to the Presidency, and what is still one the most powerful Republican senators in Congress, has just been announced; yesterday a report by the DOJ was issued confirming that the White House, through key DOJ personnel and the Attorney General at the time, have illegally and improperly politicized the neutral civil service portion of our justice system including a whole section of judges, as well as discriminated based upon sex and/or sexual orientation. But the news is covering an earthquake that damaged, apparently, nothing. Why is this?

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Earthquakes sell more ad time?
      Have flowier hair? Tinier bikinis?
      Require no attention span?

      … am I gettin’ close here…?

      To think that it’s only taken over 21 years to indict one of the key asshats behind allowing single-hulled oil tankers to go through storms in the straits of Valdez Arm.

      Wouldn’t I love to be a fly on the wall in some of the upper regions of the Oil Majors this week… wonder how many of them knew this was coming today?

    • JimWhite says:

      But the news is covering an earthquake that damaged, apparently, nothing. Why is this?

      That’s easy. There are millions of people in LA just itching for the chance to tell the world where they were and what they were doing when the earthquake hit and people will be tuning in CNN for the next 36 hours to hear those stories over and over. Dane Cook explained this for car accidents.

      • Leen says:

        Judy “I was fucking right” Miller has no shame and no conscience. Can you imagine someone like Judy Miller having more protection under the law? Heaven help us. This woman should be tried for war crimes.

        We need an Official Secrets Act (with restrictions) rather than a Shield Law expansion. How in the hell can so called reporters like Robert Novak, Judy Miller and any other reporters who purposely undermine National Security by outing undercover agents or using false intelligence to promote an unnecessary war be held ACCOUNTABLE in very serious ways?

    • PetePierce says:

      What they cover and the way they cover drives me up a wall all the time. One of the big paradigm shifts as blogs proliferate and polish and mature is that you have savvy people with expertise, and for political and legal stories legal expertise who can analyze and cover these stories.

      One reason the MSM spends much of their time on catastrophic weather events, child kidnappings, and accidents is that they are sensational so they seem to boost ratings. Another is that they don’t have people with your level of expertise and experience the way many of the legal blogs do who also have the perspective to know what stories are important, should be covered and merit careful analysis. Because of that you get what you’re seeing now on TV and in the papers.

      I hope everyone in Southern California is okay.

    • randiego says:

      Digby is kinda wondering the same thing:

      Slow News Day

      by digby

      I guess there aren’t any white women missing or something because this ongoing coverage of the earthquake in LA is just mindboggling.

      I was sitting at my desk and said to myself “Oh, we’re having an earthquake.” No car alarms went off, the dogs didn’t bark and nothing happened. My husband and my cat were both napping and neither one of them even woke up, so it’s not exactly The Big One. It’s worth a mention and maybe a little follow-up but that’s it. It wasn’t LA 94 or SF 89 or Alaska 64. I went through two of those. It was just a mild shaker.


  16. wavpeac says:

    Well, I am just glad that Steven’s didn’t do anything really, really, really dirty…like lie about an affair.

    I know it’s a tired old thought but when I think about the implications of the Clinton impeachment and what has followed during this administration…I think we should NEVER forget. So pardon my tired old resentful thought!

  17. SparklestheIguana says:

    Judy on the federal shield law:

    And as much as I may not like some bloggers and I may think that some bloggers are downright irresponsible, you could say that too about some news organizations that are considered “mainstream.”

    C’mon Judy, it’s no fun if you don’t name names! What bloggers do you hate?

    Judy also has become a prison reformer of sorts after her stint in the clink, and she keeps in touch with some of her former felon buds.…..l?PageNr=1

    • skdadl says:

      And what about the original waiver that you received…?
      It was a blanket waiver. That was a waiver demanded by his boss, and it was not specific.

      I don’t understand that reference to “his boss.” The antecedent “his” in the interview would be Libby, yes/no?

      Apart from that, she sure knows how to evade a question, doesn’t she? What criticism of you was fair? Asked a second time, she seems to expect people to believe that she has been as deprived of access to commentary ever since those eighty-five days as she was during them.

  18. Neil says:

    Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska pleaded not guilty today to concealing more than a quarter-million dollars in gifts. Judy Woodruff reports on the charges and today’s court session.