Over the course of the federal probe in Alaska, it’s become clear that oil services company Veco dabbled in shady dealings — some connected to Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) and his son Ben, a former state senator. Two top executives, who’ve pled guilty to bribing state lawmakers, have also played general contractor for Sen. Stevens and doled out $240,000 in “consulting” fees to his son. Veco has contributed more than $70,000 to Stevens’ campaigns over the years (making the company his second largest donor), and $25,000 more to his political action committee.
But what has Veco fetched in return?
As easy as it has been to document Alaska lawmakers who’ve fed their campaign funds and lined their pockets with Veco money, it’s less obvious how the company has directly benefited in return. Here’s a glimpse at what Sen. Stevens has done directly for the company. Back in 2003 The Los Angeles Times ran a story about family ties amongst lawmakers and corporations (via Nexis):
VECO had helped build a $70-million pipeline for Pakistan, but the government was slow to pay. As it happened, Pakistan desperately needed congressional help on a trade issue, and Ted Stevens was positioned to block the necessary legislation. Before long, Pakistan’s representatives in Washington concluded that their trade bill would go nowhere until Pakistan settled with VECO and its partners. Pakistan agreed to arbitration. The bill sailed through.
Other clear cut examples aren’t so easy to come by, but generally speaking Veco has done well for itself securing federal contracts. The company has won National Science Foundation contracts twice. One contract from 2005 was worth $100 million to provide” Arctic research support and logistics services in Alaska, Greenland, the North Pole, Canada, Russia and other Arctic locations.” The company has also disclosed other lucrative-looking contracts, though the exact values are unknown.
The question is: How many of those contracts received the helping hand of Sen. Stevens?