Currently, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) is under investigation by the FBI for his relationship with Alaska energy company Veco, whose CEO pled guilty to bribing government officials, including Stevens’ son Ben Stevens. The FBI is also investigating Stevens’ use of earmarks to reward his friends. This summer, FBI agents raided Stevens’ home in Alaska, the first ever raid of a sitting senator’s home.
— $113,000 for “rodent control”
— $975,000 for berry research
— $825,000 for “alternative salmon products”
But one particular earmark deserves special attention. Roll Call reports:
That total includes nearly $3.5 million for the Alaska Sealife Center — which is being investigated by the FBI, Department of Interior and the Internal Revenue Service as part of their inquiry into Stevens.
The SeaLife center is at the heart of the FBI’s criminal investigation of Stevens. The Bureau is examining whether Stevens directed funds there to benefit his friend and longtime business partner Trevor McCabe, a former aide to the senator. In 2005, Stevens directed millions of dollars to the SeaLife Center, which then paid over $500,000 to McCabe to buy a parcel of his land.
By directing additional millions to the scandal-ridden SeaLife Center this year, Stevens is effectively thumbing his nose at the FBI investigators — a move worthy of his inclusion as one of the top ten ethics scandals of 2007.