As Sen. Ted Stevens' (R-AK) trial date approaches the details of the case against him are slowly coming to light. He is alleged to have accepted gifts and services from VECO Corp. (like the expensive remodel of his home) in exchange for doing official favors for the company, then concealed the extent of those gifts. Stevens is set to stand trial in late September.
The principle evidence in the case is the extensive remodeling of Stevens' Girdwood, Alaska home undertaken by VECO, the value of which was underreported by Stevens. Stevens also apparently requested items for the home and gifts for his family from VECO.
As Stevens prepares for trial the state of Alaska prepares to vote on a Clean Elections ballot initiative this coming Tuesday, August 26th. Alaskans for Clean Elections have been rallying around the state to spread the word about the proposed voluntary full public financing program that has gained traction as a potential solution to the corruption problems that have plagued Alaska's legislature. The VECO scandal, which has sent a handful of state lawmakers to prison even as others await trial, has really energized debate over the influence of corporate money on state legislators.
In the final days before voting supporters are working hard to get the word out about Clean Elections. The Anchorage Daily News reiterates its support for the ballot initiative, and Clean Elections supporter Jen Landry pens this letter to the editor explaining her support for the measure.