Ex-Sen. Stevens' files to be given to university

Without special permission, researchers can't examine papers until five years after his death

Posted: Friday, February 27, 2009

ANCHORAGE - The extensive papers collected by former Sen. Ted Stevens during his 40-year career will be housed at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

The 85-year-old Stevens was convicted of corruption last fall and lost his bid for re-election the following month to Mark Begich, a Democrat. Stevens is appealing his conviction.

Under an agreement, there will be conditions on the use of his papers. Researchers won't be able to examine the papers until five years after Stevens' death, unless special permission is granted.

He is also excluding financial records and personal material like correspondence with family members, a list which would include his son, Ben, a former state Senate president, whose legislative offices were among those raided by federal authorities in the ongoing probe of corruption in Alaska politics. Ben Stevens has not been charged.

The state will maintain the archives, but the contract between the university and Stevens exempts the archive from Alaska or federal public-records laws.

If a judge were to rule these are public records, the agreement specifies the entire collection must be returned to Stevens or his heirs as soon as possible.

Paul McCarthy, a consultant for the university on the Stevens archives, said the papers cover "a phenomenal range" covering Stevens' career and many of the state's most important issues since statehood in 1959.

Those include the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, approval and construction of the trans-Alaska pipeline and the elimination of foreign fishing off Alaska waters.

Richard Baker, the Senate historian, told the Anchorage Daily News that Stevens' four decades of papers constitute a "wonderful resource" for Alaska.

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