Official failed to disclose $250,000 gift

Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), a senior member of a congressional committee with influence on showbiz, has been indicted for failing to disclose $250,000 in goods and services given to him by a company that had business before his committee.

Stevens, currently ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee, became entangled in a 2004 federal probe into corruption in Alaska. The probe already has secured seven convictions, including one for the former speaker of the Alaska House of Representatives.

While not alleging bribery, the Justice Dept. indictment said Stevens used his office and position to help the company — Veco, an international oil services outfit — while he was chairman of the Commerce Committee and the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.

On the Commerce Committee, Stevens has played key legislative roles in entertainment industry issues such as broadcast indecency, the digital TV transition and Net neutrality. And though he is officially ranking member, committee chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) accords Stevens status as co-chairman.

Stevens is said to be cooperating with the ongoing investigation.

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