Warehouse G

Unbalanced Justice

Comparing Cases Against Ted Stevens and Don Siegelman

By James Donahue

We noticed an interesting observation recently on the Daily Kos that drew parallels between the federal cases leading to convictions of former Senator Ted Stevens, an Alaskan Republican, and Alabama’s former Democratic Governor Don Siegelman for corruption in office.

The blog writer noted that Attorney General Eric Holder recently dismissed charges against Stevens and ordered him released from prison after discovering evidence of prosecutorial abuse. The entry noted that those same federal prosecutors working under Bush appointed Attorney General, were involved in what is now perceived as a framing of Siegelman on bogus charges, instigated by Karl Rove. Yet Siegelman remains in prison serving a prison term that runs for more than six more years.

The writer noted that the evidence that Siegelman was framed is so strong that 54 former state attorneys general have filed a brief asking for Holder to reverse the conviction and set him free. The New York Times and the 60 Minutes television show have called for a fresh look at the Siegelman case, calling for President Obama to pardon the former governor.

Not only that, but Karl Rove, who is now heavily implicated as having tampered with this case and stirred the campaign to indict Siegelman on an unproven charge of pocketing a $500,000 donation to the state educational fund, has thumbed his nose at Congress, refusing to answer a subpoena to testify about his role.

The irony here is that Siegelman, a Democrat, still remains in prison on charges of taking a single bribe, even though research fails to find any evidence that he really did it. Stevens, who has a record of not only accepting bribes but funneling millions of taxpayer dollars into his personal coffers for years, has been set free on a technicality. He was tried by incompetent prosecutors who failed to provide full disclosure of evidence to his defense lawyers.

Now Stevens dares to declare his innocence and is announcing plans to run to recover his old senate seat in the next general election. Alaskan voters would do well to throw the book at this crook and never give him a position of political power again.

Among his worst crimes:

In 2003 the Los Angeles Times reported that Stevens took advantage of lax Senate rules and used his political influence to obtain a large amount of personal wealth. He made “investments with businessmen who received government contracts or other benefits” and wrote “preferences into law” that he personally benefited from.

In 2007 the Anchorage Daily News reported that the FBI and a federal grand jury were investigating an extensive remodeling of the Stevens’ home in Girdwood organized in 2000 by Bill Allen, a founder of the oil field service company VECO Corporation. That project, estimated to have been worth more than $250,000, and various other “gifts” were included in the charges brought against Stevens in July, 2008.