Alaska Senator Pushes for Stevens Pardon
The Anchorage Daily News reports that Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) asked President George W. Bush last month to pardon her former counterpart in the U.S. Senate, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), for his seven-count felony conviction of failing to list gifts worth $250,000 on his Senate disclosure forms.
Stevens, who maintains his innocence, has reportedly not asked for a pardon himself.
It isn’t too shocking that Murkowski — who inherited her Senate seat from her father, Frank Murkowski, when he became governor of Alaska — would ask for a pardon for Stevens. She is part of the state Republican elite that mingles with many of the same mega-donors and special interests, like local rainmaker Bob Penney, who landed Murkowski in the middle of a Senate ethics investigation just a few years ago when news broke that she failed to mention having purchased some choice riverfront property from Penney on her Senate disclosure forms.
Stevens has powerful friends outside of Alaska pushing for him, too. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said last week that he hopes Stevens is not forced to serve jail time, even though Stevens himself was caught on an FBI wiretap predicting he would be jailed for his behavior.
So far, Bush has been rather frugal in granting pardons. With just 24 hours remaining in his presidency, it will be interesting if he makes an exception for Stevens.