Two Republicans face legal scrutiny
Stevens, the longest-serving Republican in Senate history, recently hired lawyers and said the FBI told him to preserve documents. Prosecutors have questioned his friends and associates, including in some cases before a Washington grand jury, according to someone familiar with the case who spoke on condition of anonymity because grand jury matters are secret by law.
The basic case is that when Stevens decided to double the size of his home in 2000, the project was overseen by VECO, an oil services and construction company whose top executives have pleaded guilty to bribing state legislators.
His son, state Sen. Bob Stevens, has been implicated as well.
Meanwhile, in the lower 48, North Carolina's state treasurer has been indicted on drug charges.
Gov. Mark Sanford has suspended state Treasurer Thomas Ravenel after it was announced Tuesday the Charleston Republican had been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy to possess with the intent distribute cocaine.
Of possibly wider significance is the fact that Ravenel was also the state chairman for Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign, a post he resigned after the news came out. It's something of a Bernard Kerik redux, although a state chairman isn't quite as important as head of Homeland Security.
Ravenel is added to the Hall of Shame; Stevens is on the watch list.
Update: The Ravenel link has updated with a lot more detail. He's charged with buying around 500 grams -- 1.1 pounds -- of coke, but he apparently planned to share it with friends, not sell it.
Here's a lesson in class from Grady Patterson, the longtime Democratic treasurer that Ravenel beat in November:
"It’s my hope for Thomas Ravenel and the people of this state that the charges don’t hold true," Patterson said in a statement.
Conversely, here's a lesson in kicking people while they're down (and, incidently, convicting them before trial), courtesy of the South Carolina Democratic Party:
The S.C. Democratic Party said Ravenel was an "embarrassment." "In only a few months, Thomas Ravenel has gone from spoiled, rich kid buying his way into office to common street criminal," Democratic chairwoman Carol Khare Fowler said.
corruption, Ted Stevens, politics, midtopia