Hutchison fills committee seat of indicted Stevens - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Hutchison fills committee seat of indicted Stevens

WASHINGTON - Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas is filling in for indicted Sen. Ted Stevens as the top Republican on a key Senate committee.

Hutchison will serve as ranking Republican on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, while Stevens deals with corruption charges filed against him Tuesday.

Stevens, R-Alaska, temporarily stepped down from committee positions as required by Senate rules. He was indicted Tuesday on seven felony counts of concealing more than $250,000 in house renovations and gifts from a powerful oil contractor that lobbied him for government aid.

He is the first sitting senator to face indictment since 1993. He has said he is innocent of the charges.

Hutchison remained supportive of Stevens.

"Ted served our country heroically in World War II and is a tireless advocate for his state. I have every expectation that Senator Stevens will return to his role as ranking member in the future," she said in a statement issued by the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

Hutchison will continue to serve as ranking member of the Aviation, Operation, Safety and Security subcommittee. Usually a senator wouldn't serve in both positions, but Hutchison received a waiver for now.

Both senators from Texas received money from Stevens' PAC. Cornyn's spokesman said he will give an equal amount to Big Brothers Big Sisters. Hutchison's spokesman said he didn't immediately know her plans for using or donating the money.

Hutchison's campaign committee received $15,000 in contributions from Stevens' Northern Lights Political Action Committee. The contributions were $5,000 each, with one contribution in 2000 and the two others in 2005. Hutchison is not up for re-election until 2012, but has said she is considering running for Texas governor in 2010.

Sen. John Cornyn's campaign received $10,000 in contributions from Stevens PAC. Cornyn is seeking a second term in the Senate and faces Democrat Rick Noriega, a Texas state representative.

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