Alaska Scandal: More to Come?

Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) isn't the only U.S. lawmaker whose fortunes are likely threatened by his ties to an obscure oil services company known as Veco.

Republican Don Young, Alaska's only congressman, has reportedly been under investigation for his ties to the company, as well.

According to "The Wall Street Journal", which broke the news of the Young investigation a year ago, prosecutors have reportedly been looking at whether Young took bribes, illegal gratuities or unreported gifts from Veco.

Young, who has met with Justice Department lawyers and has reported spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees, has declined to comment on the investigation.

Michael Anderson, a spokesman for Young's re-election campaign, said Tuesday the congressman was not aware of any new developments in the investigations into him, "but it's not inherent on the Department of Justice to keep us informed. . . about [its] progress or the lack of progress."

Justice Department spokeswoman Laura Sweeney declined to comment, noting that "we have not confirmed or denied any such investigation."

On Tuesday a federal grand jury charged Stevens with failing to report gifts from Veco, including cars and free labor for a home in Girdwood, Alaska the senator called "the chalet."

While prosecutors alleged that Stevens took actions to benefit Veco, he has not be charged with bribery.

Federal investigators already have a number of cooperators. Among them are, Veco's former chairman, Bill Allen, who pleaded guilty to bribing at least four Alaska legislators.

Another former company vice president, Rick Smith, who once fundraised for Young, is also cooperating with investigators, according to the Associated Press, and has reportedly allowed the FBI to tape conversations he had with Young.

Contacts with Veco, however, are not Young's only concern. Federal investigators are also reportedly looking into Young's efforts to earmark $10 million to build an interchange on a Florida highway known as the Coconut Road, and campaign contributions from a developer who stood to benefit from the interchange.

Young's lawyer, John Dowd, has said he has advised Young not to discuss the matter. Dowd could not be reached for comment.

A former Young staffer, Mark Zachares, pled guilty last year in connection to his ties to now-convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. According to the terms of his plea agreement, Zachares and his wife are cooperating with investigators.

Click Here for the Investigative Homepage.

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