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Ben Stevens – the One that Got Away

An Open Letter from Wickersham’s Conscience to Attorney General John Burns about Ben Stevens, former State Senate President and son of the late Senator Ted Stevens.

August 11, 2011

John J. Burns, Attorney General
Department of Law
PO Box 110300
Juneau, AK 99811

Re: Ben Stevens

Dear Attorney General Burns:

The Anchorage Daily News reports today that Ben Stevens will not be subject to federal prosecution. Based on the federal prosecutors’ track record in Operation Polar Pen has been pretty pitiful. But just because the Feds have abandoned their claims against Ben Stevens doesn’t mean the State of Alaska has to let him skate.

This is a man who while in the state legislature accepted a “job”  with Veco – that would be Bill Allen – which paid Stevens $243,250 between 2002 and 2006 for “consulting.” But Stevens never would say what work he did for the money. On the witness stand in the 2007 trial of former House Speaker Pete Kott, Smith, a Veco vice president, was asked which state senators he had bribed. ”That would be Ben Stevens and John Cowdery,” Smith swore. (Cowdery pleaded guilty to conspiracy in 2008.)

Sure, Bill Allen has since been revealed as a pervert, and Ben Stevens’ lawyers could chip away at Allen for his nasty sex habits. But Rick Smith isn’t subject to those attacks, and there still isn’t any evidence that the “consulting fees” Veco paid Stevens were anything but a bribe.

Then there’s the whole Aleutians mess, where Stevens seems to have accepted money from both sides of a deal, without disclosing the arrangements.

To help you evaluate the case, WC is providing a link to some of the ADN stories on this alleged crook.

While you are at it, and assuming the Department of Law hasn’t let the statute of limitations run, look into the outrageously high salary he was paid by the Special Olympics World Winter Games folks. $715,000 seems more than little high for a nonprofit position, especially since Stevens still managed to work full time at his Washington, D.C.-based lobbying and consulting business.

You say you don’t have staffing for this? WC suggests you bring Pat Gullefsen out of semi-retirement and put him in charge. Competent, hard working, scrupulously honest and an exceptionally skilled criminal prosecution lawyer. Or Bob Bundy.

The Feds’ incredible series of screw-ups isn’t a license to allow Ben Stevens’ conduct to go unexamined. Having a famous dad doesn’t mean the Alaska Criminal Code doesn’t apply to you. It’s an opportunity to for the State of Alaska to clean up more than one mess.

How about it?

Yours,

/WC

(photo from Alaska Report)

Comments

comments

Comments
19 Responses to “Ben Stevens – the One that Got Away”
  1. auni says:

    Good grief! I hadn’t even heard of B.S. (Ben Stevens), but one look at his face just about tells me what I need to know. Will do some reading up on this guy. Thanks for information.

  2. laurie says:

    Why do we put up with this? Tom Delay was charming grandma on Dancing With The Stars while his high dollar lawyers dragged out his day in court. There is a different set of rules for the rich and powerful.

  3. Marilyn says:

    Like any of them ever really got punished. Sarah sure did a good job of ‘putting away the bad guys’….only SHE didn’t and THEY aren’t….they live and walk among us and continue to be just as bad as ever, only they are more careful now and they don’t have to worry that Palin’s Pawn, Parnell, will ever do anything to them either. This whole thing would be soap opera laughable if it wasn’t so damn tragic for the State of Alaska.

  4. Mo says:

    So Ben may not hold public office ever again – like he cares. But what about the rest of Alaska’s Republican crew? Why do they continue to stay in office, despite being corrupt and afflicting the populace with evil agendas?

    Jared Bernstein’s column today is insightful about money and power and the control of ideas, in case anyone hasn’t been paying attention:

    http://jaredbernsteinblog.com/big-ideas-and-the-concentration-of-wealth/

    “Far from a debate over a new paradigm, our national political economy discussion is totally bereft of ideas, leaving us mired in recession as we inflicted one economic wound after another. Forget new ideas—we can’t seem to correctly apply the old ones!

    Why did we squander the opportunity? Not because there were so much information on the web. It is, at least in part, because the concentration of wealth and power blocked the new ideas from a fair hearing.

    Deregulated markets, “rational market” theories, eroded labor standards, the retreat of unions, regressive taxation, financial engineering, global arbitrage, low rates of job growth, stagnant living standards and high poverty for the bottom half, all have contributed to almost unprecedented levels of wealth concentration.

    Such dynamics are self-reinforcing. The narrow slice of winners, enriched beyond imagination by these forces use their wealth to insulate themselves from new ideas that threaten their position by purchasing not just political power but even “ideas,” through bogus think tanks and media operations.”

    And Paul Krugman’s The Hijacked Crisis also notes how we’ve met the enemy, and he is us:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/12/opinion/the-hijacked-crisis.html?_r=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

    “Check out the opinion page of any major newspaper, or listen to any news-discussion program, and you’re likely to encounter some self-proclaimed centrist declaring that there are no short-run fixes for our economic difficulties, that the responsible thing is to focus on long-run solutions and, in particular, on “entitlement reform” — that is, cuts in Social Security and Medicare. And when you do encounter such a person, you should be aware that people like that are a major reason we’re in so much trouble.”

    • Millie says:

      How can the State of Alaska remain ‘red’? Voters need to pay attention this next cycle and get them out of office.

  5. Hizoner says:

    Bob Bundy was Big Bad Bill Allen’s lawyer, you really think he could slap around little Ben, without a problem from Allen, or maybe Allen’s brain damage would make it so Allen would not notice.

  6. hedgewytch says:

    This AG – Sullivan – Parnell’s pocket protector?

    One thing is most Alaskan’s, well at least those who aren’t here on a rotating basis (military/slope workers), know full well how much of a corrupt sleazeball Benny-boy is. He’ll never hold a public office again, that’s for sure.

    And, I’m still kinda hoping that Arne’s fishing indictment with a plea deal includes some interesting conversations between him and Ben. But then I’ve always been an optimist.

  7. lisa says:

    What IS Ben doing these days?

  8. tallimat says:

    Ah yes little Ben…
    Remember when the stars were aligned to open anwar? Little Ben was senate president. Frank the Bank was Govenor. Yon Dung was in the us house of reps. Princess Lisa was in the us senate. Uncle Ted was flyin thru the appropriations paper up like a industrial printer as head of the us appropriations committee…

    And there was little Ben, behavin like he gave a rats ass about special olympics.

    Give me a frigging break.

    Little Ben you tried to be more corrupt, but nope didn’t work. Musta been all that loose talk at the helm of a trawler that nipped your corrupt arse in the bud… Oh maybe not eh?

    Maybe it was too many airport bar meetings with other trawler captains? All the loud laughing and talking… Oh maybe not …

    Hummm. What prey tell cut your openly corrupt ways. Teenagers?

    Little Ben just keep hiding out and hope Alaskans forget. You are so Jerry Ward-isk. It cracks me up.

    Speaking of Jerry Ward… How’s fishing up at Kashwitna little Ben? Did you finally figure out that Jerry’s make believe tribe is a total joke?

    Little Ben, personally I think you need to grow a pair.
    Yeah, I know that kind of talk is personal, but hey, it is always about you and what do you get out of it. Showing up a special olympics even wasn’t really about you. Now musta been hard for you. Eh?

  9. Pinwheel says:

    Very glad to read that Ben Stevens continues to require explanation for his behavior/business practices. Many from fishing communities know his treachery. I’m told there are some very squirrely real estate deals Bubba Ben benefitted from, also. (Waterfront in Seward?)

    Alaskans, like me too also, eventually will realize the betrayal of people we have perpetuated in offices of incredible power. Frank Murkowski, Ted Stevens and Don Young maintained their positions in the US Congress long enough to twist Alaskan interests (based on skeletons) because of deals they made throughout the years, many years. How does anyone get to be Chairperson of the most powerful congressional committees?

    Go for it AG / FBI. There is plenty with which to work. Safe travel. nem

    • ValleyIndependent says:

      Thanks for mentioning the Seward deal. I had heard something about that also. I’m curious as to whether that has ever been fully investigated.

  10. Cinquifoil says:

    Many longtime friends who know better than politics have asked me my thoughts on this topic

  11. fishingmamma says:

    He is also the genious that spearheaded the demise of the defined benefit system for state workers, and gave them, instead, a ‘defined contribution’ system. If only he had to live on the same system..
    Now State workers have no secure retirement.

    • ValleyIndependent says:

      Most private companies have also gone to a defined contribution system, and for good reason.

      Note that with a defined benefit system, the big three automakers were no longer competitive due to legacy costs, and the State of Alaska ended up with a huge unfunded liability. Thanks to some concerted effort, the State and Alaska municipalities agreed upon a workable formula under which this liability will eventually be covered, assuming that nothing is allowed to be done to make the situation worse, e.g. a return to a defined benefit system.

      State workers are now in the same boat with most of those in private industry who are lucky enough to have a retirement program. Many people don’t have any retirement benefits at all.

  12. GoI3ig says:

    Who says crime doesn’t pay?

    • Alaska Pi says:

      Jeez… sure seems to here, over and over.
      Thanks WC.
      No one is holding their breath that Mr Burns will do anything meaningful here, are they?
      We’ll be needing paramedics if someone is…

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