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Sen. Stevens gets lawyers in Alaska corruption case

June 08, 2007|From the Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) has hired lawyers and has been instructed by the FBI to preserve records relevant to a federal investigation into corruption in his home state, a newspaper reported Thursday.

As part of a larger inquiry, federal agents are investigating the remodeling of Stevens' Alaska home in 2000. The investigation is linked to the VECO Corp. bribery case that last month produced guilty pleas from two executives of the oilfield service company, according to law enforcement officials.

"They put me on notice to preserve some records," Stevens, 83, told the Washington Post, declining to say what kinds of records were involved.

Stevens, the longest-serving Republican in Senate history, declined to comment Thursday.

Three contractors who worked on the remodeling project at Stevens' home in Girdwood, a resort town south of Anchorage, have said the FBI asked them to turn over their records from the job. One, Anchorage contractor Augie Paone, has previously said VECO executives -- including former Chief Executive Bill Allen -- helped oversee the home remodeling project.

Paone testified before a federal grand jury in December and has said that he sent bills on the remodeling project to VECO, where someone examined them for accuracy before forwarding them to Stevens. Paone has said as far as he knew, Stevens paid the bills.

Allen pleaded guilty May 7 to bribery and other charges and is cooperating in the inquiry, which has focused on last year's negotiations for a new oil and gas tax in Alaska and a proposed natural gas pipeline that would have benefited VECO.

The inquiry has produced federal indictments against one current and two former GOP members of the Alaska House on bribery and extortion charges.

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