Feds investigate alleged bribes, Alaskan politicians eyed

| 7/31/2007

A federal grand jury is zeroing in on the relationship between Alaska Republican Sen. Ted Stevens and businessman Bill Allen, whose oil pipeline service and construction company won millions in federal contracts, according to The Associated Press.

Barbara Flanders, a clerk for Stevens on the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, has testified and turned over documents to a federal grand jury investigating the senate’s longest-serving Republican, The AP reported Tuesday.

On Monday, investigators went through Stevens’ Anchorage-area home, videotaping and photographing the house that Allen oversaw extensive renovations to in 2000.

Several news releases issued by the Department of Justice has detailed a prolonged federal investigation into corruption among several Alaskan lawmakers for more than a year, though their probe into Stevens is a recent development.

Allen founder and CEO of VECO Inc., recently pleaded guilty to bribery in connection with $400,000 paid to five current and former members of the Alaska Legislature.

Officials with the U.S. Department of Justice announced in May that it had arrested state Rep. Victor Kohring, R-Wasilla, and former state house members Bruce Weyrauch, R-Juneau, and Peter Kott, R-Eagle River, on bribery and conspiracy charges.

The Justice Department officials said Kott told company officials in a teleconference that he had successfully persuaded other state legislators to support oil tax legislation favored by the company and had worked to kill an amendment to one bill because the CEO told him to do so.

The company agreed to provide Kott employment after he left the state legislature, “as well as other things of value,” the indictment read.

Last year, the FBI raided offices of Stevens’ son, former Alaska Senate President Ben Stevens.

Ted Stevens declined to comment on his house being raided, though The AP quoted him as saying, “the legal process should be allowed to proceed so that all the facts can be established and the truth determined.”