Resolved that Sen. Ted Stevens not be invited to future Republican Conferences, and that committee assignments shall not be assigned him by the Republican Conference.
“After talking with many of my colleagues, it’s clear there are sufficient votes to pass the resolution regarding Senator Stevens,” DeMint said in a statement released shortly after the 9:30 conference meeting began. But the GOP delayed the vote on Stevens today, pending the resolution of the Alaska recount.
Soon after a jury convicted Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) on seven felony charges, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) called on Stevens to resign from the U.S. Senate. “Alaskans are grateful for his decades of public service but the time has come for him to step aside,” she said in a statement. But days later, when asked if she would vote for Stevens, Palin refused to answer. Now, Palin is backtracking on whether Stevens should resign:
Asked Wednesday whether she still believed that Mr. Stevens should resign, Ms. Palin was circumspect, saying only that the people of Alaska “just spoke” on the issue at the ballot box and that “they want him as their senator.” She said Mr. Stevens should decide “what happens next.” (Mr. Stevens could still be forced to step down, and Ms. Palin is widely viewed as a potential candidate for his seat if he does.)
The Anchorage Daily News reports that the “Alaska Bar Association went to the state Supreme Court on Thursday seeking to suspend Sen. Ted Stevens’ law license on an interim basis, pending completion of his appeals. … Any final decision on Stevens’ license would wait until his appeals have been finished.” Unlike voting rights, which say that a felony conviction is effective only upon sentencing, bar association rules say that a conviction is set as soon as a jury rules.
“Democratic Sen. Daniel Inouye provided a campaign boost Saturday to embattled Republican Sen. Ted Stevens, predicting that his colleague from Alaska will win re-election and overturn his conviction on appeal.”
,Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid rebuffed Inouye’s comments. “While I respect the opinion of Senator Daniel Inouye, the reality is that a convicted felon is not going to be able to serve in the United States Senate. And as precedent shows us, Senator Stevens will face an ethics committee investigation and expulsion, regardless of his appeals process,” Reid said.
Last night, convicted felon Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) faced Anchorage mayor and Senate candidate Mark Begich in their last debate before Tuesday’s election. During the debate, Stevens twice insisted that he had “not been convicted of anything” — though, of course, he was found guilty of all seven counts of making false statements on his Senate disclosure forms.
Waving away his conviction wasn’t Stevens’ only bizarre moment in the debate. Discussing Iraq, Stevens insisted that Saddam Hussein had played a role in the 9/11 attacks:
MODERATOR: Knowing what you know now, do you think that the country of Iraq and Saddam Hussein played a role in the 9/11 attack on the United States?
STEVENS: I know more than you think I know, and I believe they did.
BEGICH: I don’t believe they did.
Perhaps Stevens is taking a cue from Cheney in doubling down on insisting a link existed between Iraq and 9/11. He wants Alaskans to believe he knows something they don’t, but it’s Stevens whose facts are wrong:
– The Sept. 11 commission found no “collaborative relationship” between Iraq and al Qaeda and said there was “no cooperation” between the two. [6/17/04]
– A Senate Intelligence Committee report found that Saddam Hussein issued a general order that Iraq should not deal with al Qaeda, and found that the Iraqi regime never attempted to facilitate a relationship with bin Ladin. [9/10/06]
– A Pentagon report looking into ties between Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and al Qaeda showed no connection between the two, after reviewing 600,000 Iraqi documents. [3/13/08]
What’s more, the White House knew that its repeated claims of collaboration between Iraq and al Qaeda were unfounded. A recent book by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind claimed that, after the Iraq war began, the White House ordered the CIA to forge a “backdated, handwritten letter” from the head of Iraqi intelligence to Saddam Hussein, in an attempt to tie Hussein to the 9/11 attacks.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called last night for Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) to resign his seat in the Senate. The Lexington Herald-Leader reports:
“I think he should resign immediately,” McConnell, Kentucky’s senior senator, told the Herald-Leader Tuesday night after a Hardin County GOP rally. “If he did not do that … there is a 100 percent certainty that he would be expelled from the Senate.” … “The Senate would have zero tolerance for the continued service of a convicted felon,” McConnell said.
In calling for Stevens’s resignation, McConnell joins several other prominent Republican senators including Jim DeMint (SC), Lindsey Graham (SC), John McCain (AZ), Gordon Smith (OR), and Norm Coleman (MN). Other Republican senators, including Pat Roberts (KS) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX), have suggested that “it’s up to Alaskans to decide Stevens’ fate.” Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) also called for Stevens to resign.
In today’s White House press briefing, Dana Perino said the White House would “decline to comment” on the recent conviction of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) and whether he should resign:
Q: Sen. McCain today said Sen. Stevens should resign. Does the President believe Sen. Stevens should resign?
PERINO: Well given that Sen. Stevens has said that he’s going to fight his conviction and that he’s going to appeal, and that is his right to do, since it’s going to be a matter of ongoing litigation, we’ll decline to comment for now.
After Stevens was indicted, Bush attended an event in Alaska alongside Stevens. “The United States military has had no better support and stronger friend than Sen. Ted Stevens. Thank you for coming, Senator,” Bush said in August.
Yesterday, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK), the longest-serving Republican senator in history, was found guilty on all seven counts for failing to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of gifts on his Senate disclosure forms. The story got heavy airtime on MSNBC and CNN’s prime-time programs, with Campbell Brown and Rachel Maddow each devoting multiple segments to the story. Notably silent on the issue, however, were Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, neither of whom discussed the senator’s case at all during their prime-time shows last night.
Reacting to the conviction of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK), Rep. Don Young (R-AK) repeatedly insisted that the trial was invalid because “there’s no way this is a jury of his peers.” Young may have been alluding to the fact that the jury was comprised mostly of African Americans, though he later declared his objection to the jury because they were D.C. residents who had an automatic bias against members of Congress:
You have to understand that this was not a jury of his peers. It was in Washington, D.C. , which most people in Washington, D.C., don’t look very favorably on the Congress because we run them. I don’t know why anybody didn’t bring that out. They’re not a self-governing city like they say they are. We actually make decisions for them. Makes us very, very suspicious.
Yesterday, after Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) was found guilty by a federal jury for failing to report hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts and services he had received from friends, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin issued a statement calling it “a sad day for Alaska.” In the statement, Palin also declared that the “verdict shines a light though on the corrupting influence of the big oil service company” whose CEO provided many of Stevens’ unreported gifts:
The verdict shines a light though on the corrupting influence of the big oil service company up there in Alaska that was allowed to control too much of our state. And that control was part of the culture of corruption that I was elected to fight. And that fight must always move forward regardless of party affiliation or seniority or even past service.
In 2006, when she ran for governor, Palin ran as a critic of Veco and said that she “didn’t want Veco money.” But her running mate, Sean Parnell, received two $500 checks from Veco officers during the campaign, including one from Allen. Last month, Palin donated to charity “more than $1,000 in campaign contributions from two Alaska politicians implicated” in the federal corruption probe surrounding Veco.
Yesterday, Senator Ted Stevens was found guilty of corruption. It is a sign of the health of our democracy that the people continue to hold their representatives to account for improper or illegal conduct, but this verdict is also a sign of the corruption and insider-dealing that has become so pervasive in our nation’s capital.
It is clear that Senator Stevens has broken his trust with the people and that he should now step down. I hope that my colleagues in the Senate will be spurred by these events to redouble their efforts to end this kind of corruption once and for all.
Until now, McCain has largely refused to condemn the Senate’s longest-serving Republican. In July, Stevens appeared at a campaign event with McCain, who did not mention Stevens’s legal troubles. The McCain campaign even put out a statement saying that Stevens was “entitled to the presumption of innocence.”
Palin and Obama have also called for Stevens to resign.