- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 30, 2008


The perception among voters that Republicans participate in a “culture of corruption” has received more fuel. Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican in the Senate in U.S. history was indicted Tuesday on federal corruption charges. The Alaskan Republican is accused of failing to report more than $250,000 in gifts and renovations on his house. He is charged with seven counts of making false statements on his Senate financial disclosure forms from 1999 to 2006. According to the indictment, Mr. Stevens concealed gifts he received from Veco Corp., an Alaska oil firm, and its chief executive officer, Bill Allen. With the help of Mr. Stevens, Veco received millions of dollars in federal contracts.

Mr. Stevens is a former chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee who secured many earmarks for his state. Citizens Against Government Waste, a nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating inefficiency in government, finds that Mr. Stevens delivered a total of 1,433 projects worth $3,345,812,961 for Alaska between 1995 and 2008.

Mr. Stevens, a Republican stalwart and gun advocate, has a strong pro-family record, voted in favor of President Bush’s faith-based initiatives, supported the president’s tax cuts and drilling in ANWR and has endorsed the president’s foreign- policy initiatives in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has held his seat since 1968. In the forthcoming Aug. 26 primary election, he is slated to compete against six Republican challengers. According to the Cook Political Report, the general-election match-up against the popular Democratic Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich is “a toss up.” In order to give Republicans the best opportunity to safeguard the seat and minimize the spectacle, Mr. Stevens should resign immediately.

The senator is innocent until proven guilty - and Lady Justice must weigh the merits of the indictment without regard to political partisanship. In the meantime, the Republican Party must do all it can to bolster its beleaguered credibility as a guardian of the public trust.

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