America

Ted Stevens, 86, Dead In Alaska Plane Crash

Ted Stevens

Former Sen. Ted Stevens in the U.S. Capitol in Nov. 2008. Jose Luis Magana/FR159526AP hide caption

itoggle caption Jose Luis Magana/FR159526AP

The family of former Sen. Ted Stevens has confirmed that the 86-year old one-time Capitol Hill powerhouse, died in a Monday plane crash during a fishing trip.

Ever since news of the crash became known early Tuesday and it was confirmed that Stevens was aboard the aircraft, reporters had worked for hours to establish whether he was among the reported four survivors.

According to reports, five of the nine people aboard the plane had died.

Still uncertain as of this writing was the fate of another passenger well-known nationally, Sean O'Keefe, the former NASA administrator who after government service went on to head EADS North America, a defense contractor.

The AP reports:

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - A spokesman for the family of Ted Stevens says the former senator has died in a plane crash in Alaska.

Mitch Rose tells The Associated Press that the family had been notified that the 86-year-old Stevens was among those killed.

Stevens was the longest-serving Republican senator. He represented Alaska in the Senate for 40 years.

When Republicans held the majority in the chamber, he served as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

It was as an appropriator that Stevens became known as one of the Senate's most accomplished pork barrelers, bringing home the bacon for his state.

One example became infamous, the "bridge to nowhere," a relatively expensive project funded by federal taxpayers that connected two sparsely populated areas in Alaska.

As a result of a federal investigation of corruption among Alaskan public officials, Stevens wound up being indicted by U.S. prosecutors on seven counts. He was charged with accepting and not reporting gifts from the CEO of a contractor called VECO.

The indictments and conviction helped Stevens lose his seat in November 2008 to then-Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich, a Democrat.

The conviction was dropped however in early 2009 after Attorney General Eric Holder said there had been significant prosecutorial misconduct in the case.

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