More woes for GOP with Sen. Stevens indictment

Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), the longest-serving Republican in the Senate, may not be there much longer after being indicted on corruption charges on Tuesday.

Stevens, the former chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee , is one of the most powerful members of the Senate. He is running for re-election this year and could lose his seat in a climate that has seen Republicans face one scandal after the next.

"We've had nothing but challenges all the way through, so what else is new?" Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), the lead fundraiser for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told The Washington Post.

The indictment charges Stevens with making seven false statements. Federal prosecutors allege he failed to disclose more than $250,000 in gifts from Veco, a former oil services company whose activities have ensnared other politicians in Alaska.

Stevens, who was on Capitol Hill yesterday when news of the indictment broke, declared his innocence. He stepped down from all of his leadership positions as a routine matter and will be allowed to turn himself in to answer to the charges.

During his years in the Senate, Stevens has rewarded Alaska Native corporations with special perks, riders and other programs. He sponsored the 1971 act that created the entities, which have poured money into his campaigns.

At the same time, Stevens has pressures Alaska Native tribes and villages by threatening their funding and federal status, which he has questioned. He told them "sovereignty is not the answer" for their communities in 2003 but dropped some of his controversial ideas in 2004 after facing heavy criticism.

Get the Story:
Senator hangs tough, stays in race (The Anchorage Daily News 7/30)
Alaska Sen. Stevens indicted; 'I am innocent' (The Anchorage Daily News 7/30)
Unreported gifts tripped up Stevens (The Anchorage Daily News 7/30)
Stevens gives up ranking positions on committees (The Anchorage Daily News 7/30)
Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens indicted; accused of concealing gifts (The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner 7/30)
For GOP, Stevens Indictment Is Latest in a String of Setbacks (The Washington Post 7/30)
Sen. Stevens Indicted On 7 Corruption Counts (The Washington Post 7/30)
Senator Charged in Scheme to Hide Gifts of Oil Firm (The New York Times 7/30)

Relevant Documents:
DOJ Press Release | Indictment | Press Conference Transcript

Related Stories:
Sen. Ted Stevens indicted on corruption charges (7/29)