Most lawmakers break off their ties with business entities while serving in the Senate. Not Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK). He is the only member of the Senate Appropriations Committee who has disclosed a direct business relationship between himself and “an entity that receives federal funds.”
Stevens continues to invest in JLS Properties LLC, owned by developers Leonard Hyde and Jonathan Rubini. Today, Roll Call reports that Hyde and Rubini have profited financially from their relationship with Stevens:
In 2004, two business partners of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) sold an empty lot in Anchorage to the National Archives and Records Administration for just over $3.5 million, more than doubling their year-old investment in the property. [...]
According to a review of federal, state and local records and interviews with Hyde and federal officials, the project in Anchorage resulted in the two developers netting $2 million in profits from the sale of land they had purchased weeks before Stevens inserted the first earmark into an appropriations bill in 2002.
The money for the purchase, according to Stevens’ office, came from two earmarks worth $6 million that Stevens had included in funding bills in 2002 and 2003.
There is no evidence that Stevens received “direct benefit” from this particular deal. But his seven-year relationship with the developers has “turned him from one of the Senate’s least wealthy Members into a millionaire.” In 1997, Stevens invested $50,000 in JLS Properties; by 2003, he had earned millions. Similarly, Hyde and Rubini have “received more than $7 million in rental payments from the federal government.” Stevens and Hyde are also co-owners of a racehorse.
Similarly, the senator continues to have a relationship with executives at the Veco Corp., an Alaskan oil company, who recently pleaded guilty to federal bribery and conspiracy charges. The FBI is now scrutinizing Stevens’s relationship with Veco. In 2000, one of the executives hired a contractor to help Stevens remodel his house, even though “Veco was not in the business of residential construction or remodeling.”