FBI, IRS Search Home of Sen. Ted Stevens

Jul 30, 2007 7:44pm

FBI and IRS criminal investigators executed a search warrant this afternoon at the Alaska home of Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska. The search warrant is currently under seal. A federal grand jury has been investigating the senator’s ties to VECO, an Alaska oil services firm. VECO is in the middle of a statewide corruption investigation that has tarnished Stevens’ son, Ben, a state senator. The FBI raided Ben’s offices last August. Stevens has denied he is the target of a federal investigation, but he acknowledged in June the FBI had asked him to preserve certain records. In a prepared statement for the media, Stevens confirmed the raid on his Girdwood home but declined to comment on it, other than to urge his constituents "not to form conclusions based upon incomplete and sometimes incorrect reports in the media."  In May, the Anchorage Daily News revealed the FBI was investigating whether the firm had paid for expansion work to Stevens’ home in Girdwood, performed in 2000. Stevens has said he paid invoices for the work from his own pocket. Stevens is the longest-serving Republican in the U.S. Senate — and the master of its appropriations process.  Alaska’s sole congressman, Republican Don Young, who is also reportedly under FBI investigation for his dealings with VECO, is the man behind the "bridge to nowhere," the controversial $231 million earmark for a bridge from Ketchikan, Alaska to Gravina Island with a population of 50. Click Here for Full Blotter Coverage. Former VECO CEO Bill Allen pleaded guilty in May to making $400,000 in bribe payments to officials, and is cooperating with investigators.  Ben Stevens is not named in the plea agreement, but he has since been identified as "State Senator B." The state’s junior senator, Lisa Murkowski, R, recently drew criticism for a land deal from which she appeared to benefit by tens of thousands of dollars. Murkowski bought the land from an Alaska real estate developer, Robert C. Penney, who has also been asked to testify in the VECO investigation.  Murkowski has denied wrongdoing in the land deal, and announced last week she would divest herself of the land. Today’s raid in Girdwood was the third time in the last 11 months federal agents had served a warrant in the former gold-mining town in connection to their corruption investigation. This post has been updated. Justin Rood contributed to this report.

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