Marketplace radio's Steve Henn has a new angle
to the Veco-Stevens scandal: the two men quietly paired up in 2002 to support the campaign of seven other Republican senators. Politicians often use their political action committees to purchase influence with members of their caucus, but Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) appears to have gone one step further. Veco CEO Bill Allen served in his proxy, echoing Stevens' leadership PAC contributions, buying the senior Republican senator clout on Veco's dime.
Here at TPMmuckraker we've painted the Alaska tale as a series of various cash-for-political favors incidents. But Henn describes a more complicated -- and telling -- relationship between Allen and Stevens. He noticed that in the summer of 2002, Veco executives poured $70,000 into seven Republican Senate challengers' campaign funds. The donations "closely mirrored cash gifts" from Steven's PAC.
Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) and Sen. John Sununu (R-NH) are two good examples.
Working in concert, Ted Stevens, Bill Allen and VECO executives used half a dozen political committees to raise about $25,000 for Coleman's 2002 campaign, and $50,000 for Sununu's. Both Coleman and Sununu are running for reelection this year.
Here's a breakdown
of the Veco-Stevens donations to Sununu, including a $25,000 donation from Veco to Stevens' PAC, which then made its way straight into the Sununua Victory Fund.
Stevens brought Sununu and Coleman even closer into his sphere of influence by inviting them up to Alaska for his annual salmon-habitat fundraiser and influence-swapping event, the Kenai River Classic
, co-hosted by Bob Penney.