Morning Business: Legal Aid

Posted September 17, 2008 at 6:43pm

The Senate Ethics Committee approved Tuesday the request by Sen. Ted Stevens (R- Alaska) to establish a legal defense fund.

[IMGCAP(1)]Stevens faces seven counts of filing false financial disclosures to conceal the receipt of more than $250,000 in gifts over an eight-year period. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges, and his trial is set to begin Monday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

According to a letter Stevens counsel Bill Canfield filed with the Office of Public Records on Tuesday, the Ethics panel approved Stevens’ new legal fund on Sept. 11.

Attorney Barbara Schuhmann, a partner in the Fairbanks-based firm Cook Schuhmann & Groseclose, will serve as the fund’s trustee. An affidavit signed by Schuhmann showing her acceptance of the job is dated July 31, the same day Stevens was arraigned in federal court.

Under rules governing such funds, Stevens is prohibited from soliciting donations, and the fund may not accept contributions from lobbyists, corporations or unions. The maximum contribution to a Senate legal defense fund is $10,000.