Senator Ted Stevens has been indicted on corruption charges. (Photo: Lauren Victoria Burke / AP)
Washington - Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, the longest-serving Republican senator in United States history and a figure of great influence in Washington as well as in his home state, has been indicted on federal corruption charges.
Mr. Stevens, 84, was indicted on seven counts of falsely reporting income. The charges are related to renovations on his home and to gifts he has received. They arise from an investigation that has been under way for more than a year, in connection with the senator's relationship with a businessman who oversaw the home-remodeling project.
The indictment will surely reverberate through the November elections. Mr. Stevens, who has been in the Senate for 40 years, is up for re-election this year. Mark Begich, a popular Democratic mayor of Anchorage, hopes to supplant him.
The Justice Department scheduled a news conference for Tuesday afternoon to announce the indictment.
Republicans on Capitol Hill were already jittery over a lobbying and influence-peddling scandal related to the lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who is now in prison. Mr. Stevens's troubles are not linked to that affair. Instead, they stem from his ties to an oil executive whose company won millions of dollars in federal contracts with the help of Mr. Stevens, whose home in Alaska was almost doubled in size in the renovation project.
Mr. Stevens is a former chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and he is still on the panel. As chairman, he wielded huge influence, and did not hesitate to use it to steer money and projects to his state.
"No other senator fills so central a place in his state's public and economic life as Ted Stevens of Alaska," the Almanac of American Politics says. "Quite possibly, no other senator ever has."
Mr. Stevens, one of only a handful of World War II veterans left in the Senate, grew up in Indiana and California and moved to Alaska in 1950, before it was a state, according to the political almanac. He first ran for the Senate in 1962, losing to Ernest Gruening, a Democrat. He was appointed to fill a vacant seat in the Senate in 1968 by the governor at the time, Walter Hickel, and has been re-elected six times since then.