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Friday, December 19, 2003 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
Watchdog groups slam Stevens
By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON Government watchdog groups criticized Sen. Ted Stevens yesterday in the aftermath of a report that the Senate's senior Republican had grown wealthy from investments with people who benefited from legislation he helped write.
The conservative Citizens Against Government Waste said the Alaskan should resign as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and the group sought a Senate ethics investigation.
In one instance examined by the Los Angeles Times, Stevens invested $50,000 in real-estate partnerships that have grown in value since 1997 to between $750,000 and $1.5 million. The Times reported that Stevens was made a partner by a developer who received Stevens' help in keeping a $450 million contract with the Defense Department for housing on Elmendorf Air Force Base.
The Times also said Stevens' brother-in-law, lawyer and lobbyist William Bittner, has been in the middle of many of the deals.
"What this whole thing points to is the need for both chambers of Congress to have stronger ethics laws, and do a better job of policing themselves," said Mary Boyle, spokeswoman for the liberal group Common Cause.
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