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There go the frequent flier miles

Well, it looks like Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) may not make it back to the Senate after all. While things looked good after the election, the AP has now called the race for his Democratic opponent Mark Begich.

What a Racket(eering)

Congressman Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.), already in trouble on corruption charges, received more bad news yesterday. Federal prosecutors added new counts to his indictment, including "racketeering, making a false statement on a tax return and other counts to an indictment against Arizona Congressman Rick Renzi.


Headed to trial

In the ongoing saga surrounding Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.), the 4th Circuit Appeals court ruled against Jefferson today, refusing to throw out most of the 16 charges against him.


Jefferson had tried to get many of the charges thrown out. Unless Jefferson appeals the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, the trial is set to begin in 2009.


Here's a reminder of the charges:

Ring of Corruption

The Abramoff Ax fells another. Kevin Ring, former minion of Jack Abramoff and once upon a time chief of staff to former Rep. John Doolittle has been indicted on ten counts of bribing public officials to take action on behalf of his clients. Insert your own "corruption ring" puns here. Somewhere Doolittle is scanning the sky nervously for signs of a dropping shoe.

Second Sentence

It appears that convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff's extensive cooperation with federal investigators is paying off. He received a reduced sentence in connection with the corruption investigation that has ended the careers of a handful of politicians and government officials.

Abramoff was contrite at his sentencing hearing, attempting to portray himself as a changed man. Of his crimes, he had this to say:


Ben Pershing of the Washington Post takes a look through the laundry list of scandals, indictments, and imprisonments and asks "what is the Hill Corrupt-o-Meter showing for the 110 Congress?" Apparently, this thing goes to eleven.

Career Down the (Series of) Tubes?

We've been following the many shady-sounding escapades of Alaska's long-serving Senator Ted Stevens (R) for some time now, right up to yesterday's 7-count indictment against Stevens for failing to properly disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts from oil services company Veco, the central corporation in the wide-ranging Alaska bribery investigation that has landed several state legislators in jail.

Perata Pro Quo?

Did California state Senator Don Perata (D) push officials in Oakland to hire a lobbyist who would push for the pet project of a major contributor to Perata? The FBI is investigating what may have been quite an elaborate instance of quid pro quo which the San Francisco Chronicle sums up here.

Take the Money and Run

Quarterly fundraising reports for federal races were due Tuesday, so the next round of fundraising/fund-racing stories is coming out. Of particular interest, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) continues to raise big bucks from the usual corporate interests, and Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) hits up the members of his family who haven't been indicted for campaign cash.

Raise Your Hand If You Haven't Been Bribed

Let's hope for Alaska State Sen. John Cowdery's (R) sake that former Rep. Vic Kohring was right about prison being a long vacation because Crowdery is the latest Alaska lawmaker to be indicted in the extensive VECO Corp. bribery scandal. Crowdery was indicted for conspiracy and bribery following revelations by Rick Smith, the CEO of VECO that he had bribed state lawmakers in exchange for legislation that would benefit the company.