|Chief of Staff to the |
Governor of Alaska
|Assumed office |
|Preceded by||Tuckerman Babcock|
|President of the Alaska Senate|
January 2005 – March 2007
|Preceded by||Gene Therriault|
|Succeeded by||Lyda Green|
|Member of the Alaska Senate|
from the N district
August 2001 – March 2007
|Preceded by||Drue Pearce|
|Succeeded by||Lesil McGuire|
|Born||March 18, 1959|
|Alma mater||Arizona State University (B.A.)|
George Washington University (M.B.A.)
Benjamin Aavan Stevens Sr. (born March 18, 1959) is an American politician and former President of the Alaska State Senate. He is a Republican and the son of the late United States Senator Ted Stevens (1923-2010), with over 40 years in office, the third-longest-serving Republican in United States Senate history.
Stevens graduated from the Arizona State University with a B.A. in economics and earned his Master of Business Administration degree from the George Washington University. After college, he was a commercial fisherman and owner of a consulting firm. Stevens was president of the May 2001 Special Olympics World Winter Games, held in Anchorage.
In August 2001, Stevens was appointed by Democratic Governor Tony Knowles to the Alaska State Senate, after being nominated by the Republican Party of Alaska. He was the Majority Leader for the 2003-2004 term, and the President for the 2005-2006 term.
In July 2004, Stevens responded to a critical email from a constituent with the comment, "Your [sic] just more valley trash," setting off a minor controversy among residents of the Matanuska-Susitna Valley, including former Wasilla mayor (and future Alaska Governor) Sarah Palin. "Proud to Be Valley Trash" became a slogan among Mat-Su Valley residents, and Palin was photographed wearing a t-shirt with the slogan during her successful 2006 campaign for Governor of Alaska.
Committee assignments for the 24th Alaska State Legislature
- Labor & Commerce Committee
- Resources Committee
- Rules Committee
- University Oversight Committee
- Administrative Regulation Review Joint Committee
- ASC Subcommittee On Homeland Security Joint Committee
- Legislative Budget & Audit Joint Committee
- Legislative Council Joint Committee
- Legislative Ethics Joint Committee
- State Finances Committee
- State Finances Subcommittee on Fish and Game
- State Finances Subcommittee on the Governor
- State Finances Subcommittee on Health and Social Services
- State Finances Subcommittee on the Legislature
- State Finances Subcommittee on Natural Resources
Alaska political corruption probe
Stevens was investigated by the FBI in connection with an ongoing Alaska political corruption probe, though he was not charged with any crime. His office was visited twice by FBI agents who seized evidence including documents relating to an alleged payment scheme involving fisheries legislation. Bill Allen, the head of the oil field services company VECO Corporation, testified in a September 2007 trial that he had bribed Ben Stevens and two other state legislators, and also testified in the trial of Ted Stevens. In his six years in the Alaska Senate, Ben had received $240,000 from VECO for unspecified consulting fees. In September 2007, Stevens called in to an Anchorage talk radio show to proclaim his innocence. He said he "didn't do anything illegal" and that he worked in the state's best interest as a senator. Ben also received $13,490 from Veco employees in 2002 with $5,500 coming from VECO's investigated executives. Within one week in 2002, Stevens received the maximum $500 contribution allowed by law from each of the six executives involved in the bribery scheme.
A 2003 legislative earmark gave the Alaska Native community at Adak Island (and thereby Adak Fisheries) exclusive rights to pollock fishing, worth millions of dollars to Adak Fisheries. Beginning in July 2002, Stevens held a secret option, expiring in December 2004, to buy a 25% ownership in Adak for an immediate payment of $50,000 and another $450,000 paid over time. In mid-2004, 50% of Adak was sold for $4.3 million to a Seattle company. In November 2004, Stevens attempted to exercise the option, but because of changes in ownership of Adak, the complexity of the agreement between Aleut and Adak, and subsequent litigation, his $50,000 check was never cashed and Stevens did not get any ownership rights. Adak Fisheries paid Stevens $295,000 between 2000 and 2004.
On October 2, 2008 U.S. District Judge in Washington, D.C. Emmet G. Sullivan denied the mistrial petition of Ted Stevens's chief counsel, Brendan Sullivan, regarding allegations of withholding evidence by prosecutors. However, the latter were admonished and submitted themselves for an internal probe by the United States Department of Justice. The precedent embodied in the Brady v. Maryland decision had required prosecutors to provide defendants with any material exculpatory evidence. On October 27, 2008, Ted Stevens was found guilty of all seven felony counts of making false statements concerning the failure to report gifts, and making false statements. Nonetheless, during a debate with his opponent, Anchorage, Alaska Mayor Mark Begich, days after his conviction, Stevens continued to claim innocence. "I have not been convicted. I have a case pending against me, and probably the worst case of prosecutorial misconduct by the prosecutors that is known." Stevens also cited plans to appeal. On November 4, 2008, eight days after his conviction, Begich went on to defeat Stevens by 3,724 votes. On April 7, 2009, federal judge Sullivan formally accepted President Barack Obama's Attorney General Eric Holder's motion to set aside the Ted Stevens verdict and throw out the indictment, declaring "There was never a judgment of conviction in this case. The jury's verdict is being set aside and has no legal effect."
After deciding not to seek re-election to the state senate in 2006, Stevens continued to hold a post as a member of the Republican National Committee. In September 2007, two of the state's top Republican elected officials, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and House Speaker John Harris called on Stevens to resign from the RNC, because he was under a federal investigation for his ties to the oil field services company, VECO. Stevens also hadn't attended a national committee meeting in more than two years, though Alaska state Republican Party Chairman Randy Ruedrich did not endorse the removal of Stevens on that basis.
In December 2018, Stevens was named by incoming Republican Governor Mike Dunleavy, as an advisor on legislation, transportation and fishing. Before the appointment, Stevens had served as the president of Cook Inlet Tug and Barge. In July 2019, he became Dunleavy's chief of staff, replacing Tuckerman Babcock.
- Bill McAllister (January 13, 2002). "Ben Stevens: Freshman legislator with a difference". Juneau Empire. Archived from the original on May 24, 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-02.
- "Senator Ben Stevens Named New Senate President", press release, November 5, 2004
- Yereth Rosen (2008-09-04). "Palin's Wasilla: A small town with attitude". The Christian Science Monitor. Archived from the original on 2008-09-15.
- Karl Vick (2007-11-12). "'I'll Sell My Soul to the Devil': Corruption Scandals Involve Alaska's Biggest Political Names". Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-03-25.
- Senator Ted Stevens' son Ben took bribes, AlaskaReport. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
- Richard Mauer and Lisa Demer (2006-09-26). "FBI returns for more from Stevens' office". Anchorage Daily News. Archived from the original on 2008-04-21. Retrieved 2008-03-25.
- VECO executive says he bribed Ben Stevens, son of U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, Seattle Times, Dan Joling, September 13, 2007. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
- Gov. Dunleavy names Ben Stevens a top adviser, Anchorage Daily News, James Brooks, December 6, 2018. Retrieved January 27, 2019.
- Kyle Hopkins (2007-09-29). "Ben Stevens proclaims innocence on talk show". Anchorage Daily News. Archived from the original on 2008-04-21. Retrieved 2008-03-25.
- , National Institute on Money in State Politics, Megan Moore, May 15, 2007. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
- Dan Joling (2007-12-07). "So far, just speculation in Ben Stevens probe". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2007-12-09. Retrieved 2007-12-16.
- Richard Mauer (2005-09-18). "Ben Stevens' secret fish deal". Anchorage Daily News. Archived from the original on 2007-08-08.
- (October 3, 2008), www.nytimes.com, Judge Berates Prosecutors in Trial of Senator Archived October 17, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
- "Judge Denies Mistrial Request in Stevens Case". ABC News. October 2, 2008. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
- "United States Senate History, "Expulsion and Censure"". Senate.gov. Retrieved June 20, 2010.
- "Sen. Stevens: I'm innocent and not convicted". CNN. October 31, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-31.
- "Unofficial Election Results". Alaska Division of Elections. November 4, 2008. Archived from the original on November 13, 2008. Retrieved November 18, 2008.
- United States of America v. Theodore F. Stevens No. 1:08-cr-00231-EGS Document 324 Filed 04/01/2009 @ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2019-01-28.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Ex-Alaska Rep Takes Stand in His Defense, The Oklahoman, Dan Joling, September 20, 2007. Retrieved January 27, 2019.
- Palin: Ben Stevens should step down, Petroleum News, September 23, 2007. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
- Brooks, James (31 July 2019). "Tuckerman Babcock out as Dunleavy chief of staff; former Sen. Ben Stevens to replace him". Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
| President of the Alaska Senate