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Ted Stevens Was Sharing His Bribes With Most Of The Republicans In The Senate And Most Of Them Are Refusing To Give The Tainted Money Back

If they weren’t so venal– and so adapt at taking very good care of themselves– you might feel sorry for Republican members of Congress. Here they have been spending all month worrying if voters are going to connect the dots between massive campaign "contributions" from Big Oil (almost a quarter billion dollars since 1990– 75% of it to Republicans, most of the rest to the Republican wing of the Democratic Party) and the policies that brought on, at least in part, the high gasoline prices.

But with the threat still looming that the Democrats might actually expose them by helping voters connect those dots, suddenly there’s a new challenge facing them: massive donations of VECO bribes that Stevens spread around the Republican caucus. So far none only a few of the GOP senators who took the tainted money have agreed to give it back.

And Stevens has been quite the little money launderer. He’s donated a cool $725,000 directly to the NRSC so they’d be able to pay for their little operations, like stealing the 2002 New Hampshire Senate race for John Sununu. But he’s also been handing out VECO and other tainted funds all across the corrupt party. This year alone some of the beneficiaries of Stevens’ shady Northern Lights PAC have included:

Lamar Alexander (R-TN- $10,000)
John Barrasso (R-WY- $10,000)
Saxby Chambliss (R-GA- $10,000)
Norm Coleman (R-MN- $10,000)
Susan Collins (R-ME- $10,000)
John Cornyn (R-TX- $5,000)
Elizabeth Dole (R-NC- $10,000)
James Inhofe (R-OK- $9,000)
Mitch McConnell (R-KY- $7,500)
Pat Roberts (R-KS- $10,000) + $5,000 more to Roberts’ Preserving America’s Traditions PAC
Gordon Smith (R-OR- $10,000)
John Sununu (R-NH- $10,000)
Roger Wicker (R-MS- $5,000)
Don Young (R-AK- $10,000)

Over the years, Stevens has redistributed immense sums of money– bribes– to Republicans. Now they don’t want to give the money back, of course. Yesterday, Tom Allen’s campaign let Maine newspapers know that $20,000 has gone into Susan Collins’ coffers, although she kicked back $5,000 to Stevens. That seems to be a pattern with him. He gives some of his ill-gotten gains to other Republicans and then they give part of it back to him. In guess this is perfectly acceptable in Washington, where these crooks make their own incredibly lax rules.

Yesterday afternoon Jeff Merkley pointed out that over the years Stevens has doled out $39,000 to Gordon Smith. Merkley isn’t asking Smith to return the tainted money to Stevens (who needs it for his legal defense team); he’s asking him "to donate the money to charities to help provide health insurance to Oregon children." Smith refused at first but with Merkley pounding him he finally agreed to turn over a small portion of the tainted dough. Meanwhile Smith has taken more than $300,000 in campaign contributions from oil and gas interests, while delivering $18 billion in tax giveaways for oil companies and opposing measures to end excessive speculation on oil prices. I doubt he’ll give any of that back.

And what about Collins, Sununu, Cornyn, Coleman and the rest of the crooks? Yesterday Jim Slattery pointed out that Stevens and his crooked PAC "donated $19,785 to Kansas Senator Pat Roberts. In 2005, Roberts voted in favor of Steven’s wasteful $230 million ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ in Alaska.

"This is precisely the reason why so many people are sick and tired of old Washington politics," Slattery said. "After 40 years in Washington, Roberts is willing to take money from a friend and then vote in favor of that friend’s pet project.

"Kansans deserve better," Slattery said. "Kansans deserve a senator who will put their needs ahead of those in Alaska."

Slattery called for Roberts to donate the money to charity.

"As chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee, Roberts should immediately donate an amount equal to the contributions he received from Stevens to a local charity."

Roberts has refused to give up a dime. Ditto for James Inhofe, who has also been part of this money laundering scheme and won’t divest himself of any of it.

[Cross-posted at Down With Tyranny.]

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Howie Klein

Howie Klein

Howie Klein spent much of his life wandering around the world living in places like Afghanistan, Nepal, Holland and Morocco. He moved backed to America when Richard Nixon resigned and promptly helped start the first punk rock radio show in the country and then a DIY punk rock record label. His adventures in the music business ended a couple of years ago when he retired as president of Reprise Records. He began blogging almost immediately, starting Down With Tyranny. Jane taught him html while he held one of her dogs at a party. He is a raw foodist, lives in L.A., swims and hikes every day, thinks Howard Dean could be a president as great as FDR and will never be completely happy until Bush and Cheney are behind bars.