Former Sen. Ted Stevens among five people dead in plane crash
Former Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) was among five people who died in a plane cash in Alaska on Monday night. He was 86.

Stevens was the longest-serving Republican in the Senate up until an indictment on federal corruption charges led to the end of his long career. He was found guilty a week before the November 2008 election but the Department of Justice later withdrew the charges amid a probe into prosecutorial misconduct.

As former chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Stevens was one of the most powerful members of the Senate. He used his position to steer federal dollars and project to Alaska despite its small population base.

Stevens also used his power to benefit the Alaska Native corporations that he helped create through the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971. He wrote legislation -- sometimes in the form of appropriations riders -- that helped them break into the billion-dollar government contracting industry.

At the same time, he sought to punish Alaska Native governments and he repeatedly denied their existence as tribes when they challenged his proposals. He once told them "sovereignty is not the answer" for their communities but gave a somewhat apologetic speech a year later in which he dropped plans to limit funding to tribes.

Get the Story:
Stevens dies in plane crash; O'Keefe survives (AP 8/10)
Stevens remembered as tireless advocate for Alaska (AP 8/10)
Former Sen. Stevens dies in Alaska plane crash; 5 fatalities reported (The Washington Post 8/10)
Former Senator Ted Stevens Is Killed in a Plane Crash (The New York Times 8/10)

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