John McCain has called on Toobz Stevens to resign from the Senate.
Yesterday, Senator Ted Stevens was found guilty of corruption. It is a sign of the health of our democracy that the people continue to hold their representatives to account for improper or illegal conduct, but this verdict is also a sign of the corruption and insider-dealing that has become so pervasive in our nation’s capital.
It is clear that Senator Stevens has broken his trust with the people and that he should now step down. I hope that my colleagues in the Senate will be spurred by these events to redouble their efforts to end this kind of corruption once and for all.
Note how McCain stresses that Stevens was found guilty of insider-dealing. But that’s not correct. Rather, Stevens was convicted of not declaring gifts on his Senate Financial Disclosure Forms. From Toobz’ indictment:
Beginning in or about May 1999, and continuing to in or about August, 2007, in the District of Columbia and elsewhere, in a matter within the jurisdiction of the legislative branch of the United States Government and subject to the legislative function exception, STEVENS, while a sitting United States Senator, knowingly and willfully engaged in a scheme to conceal a material fact, that is, his continuing receipt of hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of things of value from a private corporation and its chief executive officer by, among other things, failing to report them, as was required, on STEVENS’ required yearly Financial Disclosure Forms.
STEVENS knew the requirements of the Financial Disclosure Forms, and knowingly and intentionally sought to conceal and cover up his receipt of things of value by filing Financial Disclosure Forms that contained false statements and omissions concerning STEVENS’ receipt of these things of value.
All in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001(a)(1) and (c)(1) and (2).
It’s funny McCain should make that mistake, given that he himself appears to be guilty of similar omissions in his Senate Financial Disclosure Form. Despite public reports of McCain gambling–and, at times, winning–large sums, he has never reported his gambling winnings on his Senate Financial Disclosure Forms.
Given McCain’s call on Ted Stevens to do the right thing, isn’t it time McCain himself avoid the crimes Stevens just got convicted of?