Gold Rush

GOLD RUSH….The LA Times reports on the investing prowess of Senator Ted Stevens (R-Gold Country):

In 1997, Stevens invested $50,000 with developer Jonathan B. Rubini. Last year, at Stevens’ request, Rubini and his partner bought back the senator’s interests in their deals for $872,000, according to Senate financial disclosure forms made public Tuesday.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: the feds spent $70 million investigating Bill and Hillary Clinton over an investment they lost money on. So the Justice Department will surely be all over this.

After all, they have plenty to work with. The Anchorage Daily News summarized a 2003 LA Times investigation thusly:

While Rubini was multiplying Stevens’ wealth, Stevens was helping Rubini secure a $450 million Defense Department contract to build and own housing on Elmendorf Air Force Base.

But the Times story provided new details about the Stevens family finances:

  • Stevens’ wife, Catherine Bittner Stevens, made at least $47,000 by buying bargain shares of Alaska Communications Systems stock and then selling them a year later. Stevens, as a senior member of the Commerce Committee, has influenced communications policy that has benefited ACS.

  • Sen. Stevens did not report in his 1999 financial disclosure that Chamer Co. ? an investment firm owned by Catherine Stevens, her siblings and their mother ? obtained 42,248 shares of ACS, some of which Catherine Stevens later purchased. “Ethics rules require disclosure by a family-owned business, in detail and in the same year a transaction occurs,” the Times reported.

  • Other investors in JL Properties, the Anchorage real estate venture Stevens invested in, were required to contribute more capital if needed and to personally guarantee the partnership’s debts. Stevens, though, did not take on that risk. The Times reported: “Stevens was not asked to guarantee notes or promise more money because he was brought in as a passive investor, Rubini said. The senator said he asked for that status because it shielded him for the kind of open-ended financial obligation that had caused his ‘bad experience’ in the crab boat venture” that he lost money on in the 1980s.

You can read more about Stevens here and here. The original LA Times story is here. I just know that a special prosecutor will be jumping all over this any day now.

Washington Monthly - Donate Today and your gift will be doubled!

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation