The LA Times continues its investigative series on politicians misusing their office with an expose` on Ted Stevens, the enormously powerful chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and how he has become quite wealthy by starting businesses that benefit from legislation his committee passes. Among the other things they uncovered
• Armed with the power his committee posts give him over the Pentagon, Stevens helped save a $450-million military housing contract for an Anchorage businessman. The same businessman made Stevens a partner in a series of real estate investments that turned the senator’s $50,000 stake into at least $750,000 in six years.
• An Alaska Native company that Stevens helped create got millions of dollars in defense contracts through preferences he wrote into law. Now the company pays $6 million a year to lease an office building owned by the senator and his business partners. Stevens continues to push legislation that benefits the company.
And lest you think this is politically motivated, the paper did similar exposes on Sen. John Breaux of Louisiana and Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, both democrats, as well as republicans Orrin Hatch of Utah and Trent Lott of Mississippi. A perfect follow up to the last essay.