In a statement announcing the choice of Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, Sen. John McCain’s campaign emphasized that “in Alaska, Governor Palin challenged a corrupt system.” But that claim was undermined today when Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK), who was indicted last month for not reporting gifts from an Alaskan oil company, endorsed her as McCain’s vice president. Stevens said that he had “known and worked” with Palin for “over a decade”:
Senator Stevens said: “It’s a great day for the nation and Alaskans. Governor Palin has proven herself as a bright, energetic leader for our State and will bring the same energy to the Vice Presidency. She will serve our country with distinction – the first Alaskan and first woman on the Republican ticket. I share in the pride of all Alaskans.
“I have known and worked with Sarah for over a decade – from her service as Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, in her role as president of the Alaska Conference of Mayors, and most recently as our Governor. She is attentive to her job and family, brings people together, and is able to make tough decisions.
But Palin was unable to make a “tough decision” after Stevens, who had supported her run for governor, was indicted. In July, she told reporters that it “would be premature” to call for his resignation. She just wants him to give “a fuller accounting” of his relationship with VECO Corp., the oil services company that gave him unreported gifts.
Palin also has ties to VECO. When she ran for lieutenant governor in 2002, “she gathered $5,000 — or about 10 percent of her campaign fund — from Veco officials or their wives,” including $500 from CEO Bill Allen. Allen gave Stevens expensive gifts over the years, including “a new Viking gas grill and a new tool shed full of tools.”
TPM’s Greg Sargent notes that Palin’s website has now been scrubbed of Stevens’ endorsement ad.