CCAGW Calls on Sen. Ted Stevens to Resign Post | Council For Citizens Against Government Waste

CCAGW Calls on Sen. Ted Stevens to Resign Post

Press Release

For Immediate ReleaseContact: Mark Carpenter/Tom Finnigan
December 18, 2003(202) 467-5300

 

“Conflicts of Interest Warrant Ethics Investigation,” Schatz says

(Washington, D.C.) The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) today called on Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) to resign as chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee and asked the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate the full extent of his alleged conflicts of interest.  An investigation by the Los Angeles Times revealed how the powerful Senator made millions of dollars from investments with businessmen who received government contracts or other aid through his legislative efforts.  The case highlights the lax ethics rules surrounding the business dealings that members of Congress and their families have with special interests at the taxpayers’ expense.   

“In 1997, Sen. Stevens allegedly began a concerted attempt to accumulate a personal fortune by wielding his extraordinary power in the Senate,”  CCAGW President Tom Schatz said.  “Apparently, the longest-serving Republican in the Senate thinks he can get away with anything in the pursuit of a plush retirement.”  

The December 16 Los Angeles Times piece details the following incidents, among others:

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.

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.

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.

The Senate has few ethics rules governing conflicts of interest involving Senators and family members.  Still, Sen. Stevens’ financial statements have fallen far short of the full disclosure that rules require.  

“The looting mentality is so ingrained in Washington that lawmakers see nothing wrong with profiteering from our tax dollars,” Schatz continued.  “It is bad enough that Alaska leads the nation in pork barrel spending per capita, but for Sen. Stevens to bring home the bacon for his own financial benefit would be a new low―even for an appropriator.  Every one of his projects should be scrutinized by the Senate Ethics Committee.”     

The Los Angeles Times documents Stevens’ lifelong failures in business and the disparity in wealth from his colleagues in the Senate, despite his $130,000 salary and his wife’s reported salary of $100,000.  In a news interview in the 1980s, he lashed out at Alaska voters for not appreciating his personal and financial sacrifices.  

“Perhaps Sen. Stevens wants sympathy for feeling out-of-place in the Senate’s ‘Millionaire’s Club,’” Schatz concluded.  “But if these allegations are true, he has disgraced himself and the entire Congress.  For the billions of dollars for has apparently appropriated from taxpayers for his own benefit, he should resign as chairman.”    

The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste is the lobbying arm of Citizens Against Government Waste, the nation's largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.

 

 

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