Alaska News Nightly: July 29, 2008

Senator Ted Stevens has been indicted on corruption charges by a federal grand jury in Washington, DC. We have reaction from the Capitol in Juneau and from around the state. Tonight on Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Senator Ted Stevens indicted by Federal grand jury
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
A federal grand jury indicted Senator Stevens this morning on seven criminal counts of making false statements. He is the first sitting U.S. senator to face federal indictment since 1993. The charges allege that Stevens took hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of gifts from the oil field services company VECO, and didn’t report them on the annual financial disclosure forms required by law.

Former federal prosecutor Wev Shea reacts to Stevens indictment
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Former U.S. Attorney for Alaska Wev Shea has been an outspoken critic of corruption within Alaska politics. Shea says he would not have expected the indictment to be related to the Stevens home remodeling in Girdwood.

Governor and legislators “rocked” by Stevens indictment
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Anchorage
Governor Sarah Palin said the indictment “rocks the foundation” of the state. She says she shares with others the concern and dismay over the events.

Citizens around the state weigh in on indictment
APRN – Anchorage,  KTOO – Juneau, KRBD – Ketchikan, KIAL – Unalaska, KYUK – Bethel, KDLG – Dillingham
News of today’s indictment against Senator Stevens sparked a very mixed reaction around the state. Here’s a small sample of what the Senator’s constituents are saying.

Political rivals react to Stevens indictment
Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage
Ted Stevens’ main opponent in the Republican primary election had a restrained reaction to the indictment today.  Dave Cuddy, who spent a million dollars of his own money trying to beat Stevens in 1996, said he’s not sure how serious the charges are. Also weighing in are Mark Begich, Ray Metcalfe, and Frank Vondersaar.

Stevens indictment stirs discussion in fish country
Casey Kelly, KMXT – Kodiak
In Kodiak, home to the largest fishing fleet in the state, Senator Ted Stevens’ indictment on seven counts of making false statements is drawing mixed reaction. Some say he is innocent and will be proven so. But others are openly wondering about his involvement with the state’s seafood industry.

Weighing the impact of Stevens indictment
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Senator Steven’s indictment today will have long ranging impacts on politics in Alaska and the state as a whole. Terrence Cole is a professor of history at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.  He says he is deeply upset by the news, even though he doesn’t tend to vote republican. UAA Political Science professor Carl Shepro says it’d be tough to find a more influential figure in Alaska than Ted Stevens.

Alaska Natives concerned over Stevens indictment
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Reaction from the Alaska Native community over the indictment has been mostly one of concern for the future stability of funding for rural communities facing a growing crisis with energy costs and a lack of economic opportunities.