The Anchorage Daily News reports that Gov. Mike Dunleavy has named former state Sen. Ben Stevens as an adviser for transportation, legislation and fishing.
Remember Ben Stevens? He’s the guy who was never charged with accepting the bribe that former Veco Vice President Rick Smith was convicted of paying him. Actually, that’s just a small part of Ben Stevens . . . checkered . . . career. Back in July 2012, WC reminded readers of Ben’s rap sheet:
Item: Ben Stevens, while representing his Anchorage constituents and Enstar Natural Gas customers in the Alaska State Senate, was also serving on the Board of Directors of Semco, Enstar’s owner. To help hide the $70,000 in politically embarrassing director’s fees from his constituents, Little Ben deferred receipt of those fees to a future date. He managed to avoid an Alaska Public Offices Commission fine for his failure to report the deferred fees, but the whole business came out.
Item: Ben Stevens, while representing his constituents in the Alaska State Senate, collected more than $240,000 in “consulting fees” for performing no documented services for his erstwhile employer, Veco. Now it may be that Little Ben was performing services; after all, former Veco Vice President Rick Smith testified under oath that Veco was bribing Ben Stevens. But the absence of any evidence of . . . legitimate . . . work by Little Ben bothered some of the more scrupulous folks at Veco, like Roger Chan and outside counsel Jack Miller.
Item: Ben Stevens was the unindicted co-conspirator – “Senator B” – in United States v. Kott. At least according to U.S. District Judge John Sedwick. Why “unindicted” when the FBI had recorded damning telephone conversations between Bill Allen, Veco CEO, and Little Ben? We can only speculate.
Item: Republican political gadfly Ray Metcalf has carefully documented $923,000 in “consulting fees” by fishery industry companies to Ben Stevens. Those same companies are alleged to have received more than $12 million in payments directed them by Little Ben.
Item: Ben Stevens had a confidential option to purchase a 25% interest in Adak Fisheries at the time his father, the late U.S. Senator Ted Stevens, was pushing through a bill to create a fishery allocation project. The law had the effect of great increasing Adak Fisheries value – and the value of Little Ben’s secret option. At the same time, Little Ben was on the board of directors of Aleut Enterprise Corporation, which was charged with allocation of the pollock fishery. Without disclosing the conflict of interest, Little Ben voted for a big allocation to Adak Fisheries and argued against a larger share to Aleut Corporation.
Item: In August, 2011, in the wake of the badly botched Polar Pen fiasco, Ben Stevens was told the feds wouldn’t be pursuing criminal charges against him. Why? The Feds won’t say. We can only speculate.
The Feds not only dragged their feet before not charging Stevens; they did so for so long that the statute of limitation – the time in which the State of Alaska could bring cases – expired. Ben Stevens skated. And we didn’t hear much from little Ben for a while.
Until now. So WC has to ask, what particular area of expertise does Governor Dunleavy hope to get from Ben Stevens?
How to take a bribe and not get caught?
How to get an outrageous amount of money from a charity for doing nothing, and not have any consequences?
How to get yourself in an absolute conflict of interest and not have to face the music?
How to trade on insider information?
How to run an illegal pay for play operation?
Those are the areas where Ben Stevens has skills, apparently. Which ones does Governor Dunleavy need?