May 29, 2007

MORE PROBLEMS FOR TED “BRIDGE TO NOWHERE” STEVENS:

The FBI and a federal grand jury have been investigating an extensive remodeling project at U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens’ home in Girdwood that involved the top executive of Veco Corp. in the hiring of at least one of the key contractors. . . . Ted Stevens, the most senior Republican in the U.S. Senate and Alaska’s most famous political figure, has not been directly connected with the corruption investigation.

The wide-ranging federal inquiry surfaced in August when agents raided six legislative offices, including those of then-Senate President Ben Stevens, one of Ted Stevens’ sons. The FBI said at the time that it also had executed a search warrant in Girdwood, among other places, although the location of that search has never been officially disclosed.

Veco, an oil-field service company that has long been a strong lobbying presence in Juneau, was one of the early targets of the agents, according to some of the search warrants that became public. On May 7, the company’s longtime chief executive, Bill Allen, and a vice president, Rick Smith, pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy, bribery and tax charges. They are now cooperating with authorities.

The investigation spread to the commercial fishing industry, including Ben Stevens’ consulting clients and associates. Federal subpoenas served on fishing companies in Seattle last year sought records concerning both Ben and Ted Stevens.

Four current or former Alaska state lawmakers have been indicted and are awaiting trial on corruption charges, and an Anchorage lobbyist has pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges.

It’s not clear where the remodeling fits in. More at TPM Muckraker.