Imagine my surprise when I read that Senator Ted Stevens received a standing ovation – yes, a standing ovation – following his farewell speech in the Senate today. Shocking, especially when one thinks about the message it sends to our children. Watch it yourself:
Here is a man who was convicted on seven counts of making false statements on Senate financial dislosure forms.
Prosecutors claimed that Stevens accepted $250,000 worth of gifts, primarily from now-defunct oil services company Veco Corp. and its former CEO, Bill Allen. Among the alleged gifts was the value of a home renovation project that transformed the senator’s Girdwood, Alaska, home from a quaint cabin to a sizeable house, a $2,700 massage chair and a Viking gas grill. Source
Now I’m sure this man did a lot of great things for his state over the many years he served in the Senate. And I’m sure he has a lot of close relationships after decades of service. But what kind of message does the rest of the Senate send when it applauds a man convicted for accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes? And that’s just what they uncovered. I’d be surprised if this was the only infraction of its kind.
I can’t stand government corruption – regardless of which party is involved – and I’m glad my kids aren’t quite old enough to pay attention to this kind of thing. If they were, I would have to disabuse them of the idea that our leaders are honest and trustworthy.