When someone like Senator Ted Stevens ends up with his house raided by federal agents, I'm left wondering why in the world people like him aren't satisfied with the hand they've been dealt when they've been dealt such a good one. Yet more than a dozen present and former members of Congress are currently under investigation.
Stevens, an Alaska Republican, makes $165,200 a year and gets a generous annual stipend for travel and expenses. He has experts to do his homework, aides to do his bidding, and people with planes panting to have him on board. He has an elegant house in the capital and a chalet in ski country in his home state. In Alaska, where an airport is named after him, he's doubled the state's take of federal money to more than $8 billion in the last decade. He's known far and wide as "Uncle Ted.''
In Washington, Stevens, 83, the longest-serving Republican member of the world's most exclusive club, is more often called the "King of Pork'' than Uncle Anything. Though admired for his shameless mining of the public trough, he's generally more feared than loved. One year, Alaska got more homeland security dollars than New York. "I am guilty of asking the Senate for pork, and proud of the Senate for giving it to me,'' he once said.
Uncle Ted may now feel differently about federal dollars being spent on him in Alaska. On Monday, federal agents searched his house looking for evidence of who paid to turn it from a one-story home into a two-story home. Last year, they raided the residence of his son in a far-reaching probe of corruption in the state. There must be something in the ice there.
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