Maybe Ms. Palin will take time off from pointing fingers at everyone else and come clean on her relationship with Senator Stevens. It is alot more involved than Obama spending time on a neighborhood board with Bill Ayers.
ST. PAUL – Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin began building clout in her state’s political circles in part by serving as a director of an independent political group organized by the now embattled Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens.
Palin’s name is listed on 2003 incorporation papers of the “Ted Stevens Excellence in Public Service, Inc.,” a 527 group that could raise unlimited funds from corporate donors. The group was designed to serve as a political boot camp for Republican women in the state. She served as one of three directors until June 2005, when her name was replaced on state filings.
Palin’s relationship with Alaska’s senior senator may be one of the more complicated aspects of her new position as Sen. John McCain’s running mate; Stevens was indicted in July 2008 on seven counts of corruption.
Palin, an anti-corruption crusader in Alaska, had called on Stevens to be open about the issues behind the investigation. But she also held a joint news conference with him in July, before he was indicted, to make clear she had not abandoned him politically.
Stevens had been helpful to Palin during her run for governor, swooping in with a last moment endorsement. And the two filmed a campaign commercial together to highlight Stevens’s endorsement of Palin during the 2006 race.
Shortly after Palin was announced as McCain’s vice presidential pick, the ad was removed from her gubernatorial campaign web site. It remains available on YouTube.
A federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., has accused Stevens of concealing on financial disclosure statements lucrative gifts from the now-defunct oil company Veco and its top executives. At one point, Veco employees and contractors jacked up the senator’s mountainside house on stilts and added a new first floor, with two bedrooms and a bathroom, the indictment says.
Stevens became the first sitting U.S. senator to face criminal charges in 15 years. He has adamantly denied the allegations.
At the time Stevens revealed the existence of the 527 group – a type of independent political corporation named for its the section of the tax code – ethics experts questioned whether it was appropriate.
The Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call reported that several experts called the group an example of the fine legal line between a legal effort to conduct political activity and then-new prohibitions against raising unlimited soft-money.
Board members of Ted Stevens Excellence in Public Service were legally allowed to raise as much money as they wanted from corporations or unions or unlimited donations from individuals – all of which would have been illegal for Stevens to do himself.
At the time of the 2004 Roll Call report, Stevens’s involvement was limited to some conversations with the group’s board.
“He has just agreed that we can use his name,” Gloria Shriver, the founder of the group and wife of Alaska Republican Party Chairman Randy Ruedrich, told the newspaper. “He did say that we could use [his name] and wished us the very best.”
During her interview, Shriver left open the option that Stevens might help with some fundraising, the newspaper reported.
There is no record in IRS filings as to how much the group eventually raised.
A Palin spokeswoman did not provide a response to questions about the 527 this morning.