Do you remember the Florida 2000 election challenge, and how the entire Congress was held up in Washington D.C. awaiting ex-Senator Ted Stevens, chair of Appropriations, to relinquish his hold over a Rider on the Steller Sea Lions? Tens of thousands of D.C. employees were looking to go home for Christmas, but Ted was being true to his then-nickname “The Tasmanian Devil” of the Senate.
Courtesy of Groundswell’s providing Appropriations senators with information about how hundreds of millions Ted was demanding would simply go to Japan corporations who had tax cheated the U.S. Treasury through their “product laundering” abuses in Alaska fisheries, Ted got taken to the political woodshed. As broadcast visually on C-SPAN 2 (but not recorded in the official congressional record, Stevens was made to bow Japanese-style in apology to Senate leaders. It would be eight years later before Stevens would be convicted of multiple felonies, later withdrawn by the Department of Justice due to prosecutors’ mistakes. But, Ted was not re-elected in 2008, and Alaska’s fisheries were finally freed of his direct corruption.