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FBI, IRS Raid Home of Sen. Ted Stevens 539

Posted by kdawson
from the longest-serving-republican dept.
A while back we discussed the corruption investigation aimed at Alaska Sen. Ted "series of tubes" Stevens. A number of readers sent us word that the home of Sen. Stevens was raided earlier today by agents of the FBI and the IRS. The focus of the raid was a remodeling project at Stevens's home and the involvement of VECO, an oil company.
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FBI, IRS Raid Home of Sen. Ted Stevens

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  • The same man... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Bananatree3 (872975) on Monday July 30, 2007 @09:09PM (#20051137)
    who had the bridge to nowheres built. But since this article doesn't pertain to that, I won't go there...
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by hax0r_this (1073148)
      Actually just so we're clear, the so called bridges to nowhere weren't built.

      Also describing them as "bridges to nowhere" is somewhat like describing the first Transcontinental Railroad as a "railroad to nowhere". One of the bridges in question was probably a pointless waste of money, the other would have connected a city of 300,000 people and skyrocketing property prices to a large area of undeveloped land.

      It may also be instructive to note that Ben Stevens (the son of Ted Stevens, and another alaskan po
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Hey! Confusion is a quite relevant state.
      • Re:The same man... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by dircha (893383) on Monday July 30, 2007 @10:45PM (#20052169)
        "...the other would have connected a city of 300,000 people and skyrocketing property prices to a large area of undeveloped land."

        I see. And this second bridge, unlike the first, is a not a bridge to "nowhere" because it connects to a large area of ...undeveloped, unoccupied land?

        Thanks for clarifying.

        We wouldn't want the real estate developers to have to finance their own development. Nosiree! That's what hard working american men and women are for... to finance real estate development that they'd never be able to afford themselves.

        Go to hell, much? Thanks, bye.

        • Re:The same man... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Solandri (704621) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @01:19AM (#20053393)

          I see. And this second bridge, unlike the first, is a not a bridge to "nowhere" because it connects to a large area of ...undeveloped, unoccupied land?
          Infrastructure is generally the responsibility of government, not private enterprise. If a city feels that it is becoming overcrowded and needs to expand into adjacent lands, it will plan and fund infrastructure to support that expansion.

          That said, it is common for developers to offer to pay for part or all of the infrastructure. They have a financial incentive for the development to proceed, and infrastructure costs are often the biggest disincentive for city governments. So developers do what they can to minimize or eliminate that cost for cities.

          We wouldn't want the real estate developers to have to finance their own development. Nosiree! That's what hard working american men and women are for... to finance real estate development that they'd never be able to afford themselves.
          While it may make one feel better to "stick it to the developers" by making them pay for the additional infrastructure, the truth is that they don't pay for it. The people buying the new housing or office space do. The costs just get passed onto them in the form of increased prices, home association fees, property taxes, and/or mello-roos [wikipedia.org].

          So since the people are going to be paying for it anyway, the question then becomes how do you apportion the cost. One line of reasoning is that the people buying in the new development should pay for it since they are the primary beneficiaries. Another line of reasoning is that everyone should pay because the people in the currently existing city are secondary beneficiaries (less crowding, access to facilities in the new development, more choice in living/working area, etc). The fairest solution is probably a combination of the two. But the point is that making taxpayers pay for it isn't as ludicrous as you're making it out to be; taxpayers are the eventual beneficiaries and they end up paying for it in the end anyway. The logistics of how you make them pay for it is just a matter of shifting responsibility for obtaining the funding.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by massysett (910130)
            While it may make one feel better to "stick it to the developers" by making them pay for the additional infrastructure, the truth is that they don't pay for it. The people buying the new housing or office space do.

            Of course this is what the developer would like to have you believe. The reality is not that simple.

            Certainly the cost of infrastructure increases the developer's expenses. But your assertion, which is that the buyer ultimately pays for this, relies on the fallacious assumption that the developer
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by vertinox (846076)
            Infrastructure is generally the responsibility of government, not private enterprise. If a city feels that it is becoming overcrowded and needs to expand into adjacent lands, it will plan and fund infrastructure to support that expansion.

            Yes it is a job for government... But not the Federal Government.

            Do you not understand between the roles and responsibilities of the State and Federal government? This is clearly something that falls under the jurisdiction of the state of Alaska unless of course this is an
      • Re:The same man... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ucblockhead (63650) on Monday July 30, 2007 @10:49PM (#20052235) Homepage Journal
        The first transcontinental railroad was never a "railroad to nowhere". It was built twenty years after millions of people had already moved to the west coast of the United States.
        • Re:The same man... (Score:4, Informative)

          by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @12:26AM (#20053127)

          The first transcontinental railroad was never a "railroad to nowhere". It was built twenty years after millions of people had already moved to the west coast of the United States.

          I agree that the transcontinental railroad wasn't a "railroad to nowhere". But it wasn't built 20 years after "millions of people had already moved to the west coast of the United States.". Fewer than half a million people moved to the West Coast during the emigration period from about 1840-1860.

          • by Moraelin (679338) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @05:33AM (#20054719) Journal
            The difference is that:

            A) Early railroad made its big bucks less from transporting people, and more by transporting goods and raw materials for the industry. In fact passengers were often the necessary evil: you wouldn't get a permit to build a railroad if you didn't haul the people too.

            Hence just counting how many people were there, is highly misleading. The west was by and large the captive market and source of cheap raw materials for the east coast, in much the same way as India was to England. Building a railroad there made sense.

            B) Railroads were a _major_ strategic asset for the army. I don't think these bridges to nowhere count as that.

            B) More importantly, railroads were built by private capital, because they were profitable. That's a freakin' huge difference between that and pork barrel contracts to at most please a village on an island.

            The laissez faire capitalism of the 19'th century was pretty vehemently against using government money on something that competed with private initiative. Plus, the government didn't even have that kind of money anyway.

            I must admit, though: That doctrine was often taken to absurd extremes, such as in England where, when they _had_ to support their own population in a crisis or famine... because they couldn't just give money to people (they thought it would compete with the employment market) or build something useful (it would have competed with private industry), they paid the people to build some useless stuff like roads from nowhere to nowhere (literally, unconnected, in the middle of a field) or useless towers or such. But even then, it must be said that it was only in times of extreme necessity, instead of social security. And it was openly useless stuff. Even in its stupidity, it just wasn't the same thing.
      • Re:The same man... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by syzler (748241) <david@@@syzdek...net> on Monday July 30, 2007 @10:49PM (#20052239)
        One of the bridges in question was probably a pointless waste of money, the other would have connected a city of 300,000 people and skyrocketing property prices to a large area of undeveloped land.

        I would also like to point out that even though this may be an insignificant number to people accustomed to the over crowded cities of the lower 48, this city's population is half the population of the state. Alaska [wikipedia.org] may be 2.5 times larger than Texas, however our largest population center is land locked by military bases, the Cook Inlet [wikipedia.org], and the Chugach State Park. The bridge to nowhere [wikipedia.org] would reduce a two hour one way commute to just a few minutes from the currently under developed land to downtown Anchorage.
         
        I saw a few posts that talked about the state paying Alaskans every year. The one to two grand paid by the state PFD [wikipedia.org] does not provide much help to a middle income family trying to buy a home when a vacant 1.5 acre lot in Anchorage sells for about $750,000 (just went on the market a few days ago).
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by JonathanR (852748)

          ...does not provide much help to a middle income family trying to buy a home when a vacant 1.5 acre lot in Anchorage sells for about $750,000

          A middle income family needs to buy 1.5 acres for their home? In a major population centre? For what? No wonder there is no room left in the city. The traditional Aussie 1/4 acre suburban lot has proven to be more than enough for most families, which would bring the cost down to (roughly) $125k, and that's not an outrageous amount.

        • Re:The same man... (Score:5, Informative)

          by TheGreatDonkey (779189) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @06:55AM (#20055111)
          And why would a family starting out need 1.5 acre tract of land in an urban area of 260k people (http://anchorage.areaconnect.com/statistics.htm)? I don't claim to know anything about the geography of the area, but a quick search of realtor.com shows that anyone can buy a .25 acre piece of land for an average of $25k, or half an acre for $22k-$50k. As a middle income family, you can apparently get yourself a starter home of 1200sq feet for around $180k ($100k for a starter condo). If you want to consider moving to the 'burbs, just like any other city, it of course gets much cheaper.

          Now lets compare this to say, many other American cities. Anchorage has an "Owner-occupied housing units" rate of 60%, which is among the highest in the country (again, areaconnect.com/statistics.htm says that Tucson is 53%, Oklahoma City is close at 59%, Las Vegas is also 59%, Orlando is 40.7%, Boston is 32%, Syracuse is 40%, Dallas is 43%, Los Angeles is 38%, Manchester NH is 46%). So this tells me that people are having less of a hard time achieving home ownership in Anchorage than just about any other part of the country.

          I'm not trying to flame you as I am sure many people there go through the same struggles as elsewhere, but just trying to put everything into a bit of perspective. Anchorage isn't the $40k housing market some people in the lower 48 might expect, but it seems easier to achieve personal home ownership there than most other urban cities in the country. I suspect if you start to consider suburbs, just like any other city, the numbers skew much differently.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 30, 2007 @09:11PM (#20051153)
    ...and this is the thanks you get.
  • Hey Ted (Score:5, Funny)

    by Cracked Pottery (947450) on Monday July 30, 2007 @09:12PM (#20051169)
    Just think of a men's Federal prison as a bunch of tubes.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by rob1980 (941751)
      Born November 18, 1923 (1923-11-18) (age 83)

      Somehow, assuming he doesn't simply die of old age before this case were to work its way through the system, appeals, and all that jazz, I think they'll end up playing the health card to keep him out of prison.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 30, 2007 @09:20PM (#20051279)
      I know a lot of people think it's a funny idea, but prison sodomy is actually not very funny at all. It can lead to the transmission of AIDS, HIV, or other diseases. It can lead to a destroyed psyche. There is, of course, the brutal physical damage it causes. So it's really not humorous at all.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Prison sex is just like other forms of rape: It's reprehensible, it's disgusting, it's downright wrong...but you can joke about it! Just ask George Carlin. Paraphrased from his "Parental Advisory - Explicit Lyrics" album:

        Lots of groups in this country want to tell you how to talk...Tell you what you can't talk about. Well, sometimes they'll say, well you can talk about something but you can't joke about it. Say you can't joke about something because it's not funny. Comedians run into that shit all the time

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by teh_chrizzle (963897)

        prison sodomy is actually not very funny at all

        of course not, unless it happens to a clown.

  • how about a little lol [flickr.com] at Mr. Stevens expense?
  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday July 30, 2007 @09:12PM (#20051183) Journal

    "As a practical matter, I will tell you. We paid every bill that was given to us," Stevens told reporters. "Every bill that was sent to us has been paid, personally, with our own money, and that's all there is to it. It's our own money."
    My BS detector just went off the charts.

    The obvious question is: What about the bills that weren't sent to you?
    To me, that seems to be the heart of the investigation.
  • Taxes (Score:5, Funny)

    by Saint Stephen (19450) on Monday July 30, 2007 @09:14PM (#20051201) Homepage Journal
    People in Alaksa don't pay taxes. The government PAYS people that live in Alaksa to live there. I'm moving to Alaksa, along with all the other losers.

    I don't think I'll make it as far as Alaksa. Probably stop in British Columbia.
    • Something tells me that you won't be able to find "Alaksa" on a map...That said, I've been there and it's absolutely beautiful. And the aurora is amazing. Everyone should try to get up there at least once in their life.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Myopic (18616)
      Incorrect. The people of Alaska pay taxes. We have various kinds of taxes including property taxes and sales taxes (no state sales tax, but some municipalities). We also have taxes on many specific things, such as hotel taxes, gasoline taxes, and cruise ship taxes, among others.

      The government doesn't "pay" us to live here (I live in Juneau, Alaska). The people receive a portion of the proceeds from the exploitation of our primary natural resource, oil; which is only fair, considering it's our resource. Fran
      • Re:Taxes (Score:5, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 30, 2007 @10:31PM (#20052015)
        The government doesn't "pay" us to live here (I live in Juneau, Alaska). The people receive a portion of the proceeds from the exploitation of our primary natural resource, oil; which is only fair, considering it's our resource.

        But as an Inuit, don't you get upset that the other Americans call it "their" resource?

  • by a_nonamiss (743253) on Monday July 30, 2007 @09:15PM (#20051203)
    You can't blame Ted Stevens here. If his understanding of federal corruption laws is anything like his understanding of Net Neutrality, he probably thought all those free upgrades to his house were perfectly legal.

    /sarcasm
  • They just want to clean out the tubes he laid in his remodeling job.
  • by boster (124383) on Monday July 30, 2007 @09:38PM (#20051471)
    ... It's a series of frauds!
  • by schwit1 (797399) on Monday July 30, 2007 @09:53PM (#20051611)
    The Ted Steven's type politician will not go away until campaign contributions are permitted only from registered voters from a candidate's district. I should be permitted to give money to only those candidates I am allowed to vote for.
    • by Bios_Hakr (68586)
      Damn straight. Also, the contribution should be limited to no more than $100 per person. That way, Bill Gates has no more or less influence than some random Seattle street urchin. Campaigns cost too much money? Well, tough fucking luck.

      Of course, there is still a problem with private companies (RNC/DNC) taking money and publishing ads on behalf of a candidate without actually giving the money to a candidate. And if you try and limit their rights, then that whole pesky First Amendment thing gets in the
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by belg4mit (152620)
        >And if you try and limit their rights, then that whole pesky First Amendment thing gets in the way.
        Actually no, because you address that by rectifying another egregious aspect of our current political/
        legal system: treating corporations as individuals. If Monsanto cannot serve 10 years for manslaughter,
        it's not a person.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I should be permitted to give money to only those candidates I am allowed to vote for.

      Unfortunately campaign contributions are only part of the problem. Restricting contributions does nothing to reduce expenditures, which can be made by anyone. So instead of contributing directly to Sen. Stevens campaign, EvilCorp can simply spend its own money running advertisements, perhaps as part of a group such as "Concerned Evil Corporations For America".

      Moneyed interests will always be able to get around campai

  • how funny (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WindBourne (631190) on Monday July 30, 2007 @10:02PM (#20051713) Journal
    They give the 2 republicans notice that they were under investigation, and then several weeks later do a "surprise" raid. What do you bet that all evidence had LONG disappeared. I would not be the least bit surprised to find out that the senator (and shortly the congressman), got notice of when and where the "surprise" raid would occur. Just imagine if they had done this with the Lousiana congressman jefferson. All that bribe money would have disappeared.
  • by Cyno01 (573917) <Cyno01@hotmail.com> on Monday July 30, 2007 @10:56PM (#20052315) Homepage
    As a career choice. People who want to be in politics are probably the last people you want in charge. I say we double the pay for every single elected position in the country, halve the term periods, and appoint people (meeting certain criteria, 25 years old, HS diploma, US citizen) to every single position based on a lottery system at whatever level (local, state, federal) the position is for. Power corrupts, absolutely, and those seeking power are probably already corrupt. Things would be a lot more effective if average people whose friends and neighbors have a vested interest in whats going on were in power. And with shorter term limits, even if someone terrible got appointed, they wouldnt be there for long enough to do all the much damage. Not to mention they would probably focus more on the job at hand. How much time do politicos spend on their re-election campaigns vs actual work?
  • Too Bad... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew@gmai l . com> on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @04:32AM (#20054409) Homepage Journal
    It is too bad he doesn't understand the internet, because the writing has been on the wall, or on the web rather. It has been speculated for a while they were coming after him. If he read /. he would have known to shred the evidence long before they raided his home.

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