- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 31, 2007

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) Federal agents snapped photos and trained video cameras on the home of U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) during a search related to a public corruption investigation, law enforcement officials said.

Stevens, 83, is under a federal investigation for his relationship with Bill Allen, an oil field services contractor who was convicted this year of bribing state lawmakers.

A 2000 renovation project more than doubling the size of Stevens‘ home in the ski resort community of Girdwood was overseen by Allen, who is founder of VECO Corp. The Alaska-based oil field services and engineering company has reaped tens of millions of dollars in federal contracts.

Agents from the FBI and Internal Revenue Service started their search at the senator’s home Monday afternoon, said Dave Heller, FBI assistant special agent. He said he could not comment on the nature of the investigation.

About 15 agents took photos and video of various angles of the structure, climbing onto the roof at one point, and eventually entered. They later carried out a garbage bag full of unidentifiable materials and loaded it into an unmarked white van. The curtains were drawn during most of the search.

A law enforcement official familiar with the case confirmed the raid on Stevens‘ home was focused on records related to the ongoing VECO investigation. The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke only on condition of anonymity.

An e-mail statement issued by Stevens through his Washington, D.C., spokesman said federal agents had alerted his attorneys that they wanted to search his home.

Stevens, who has been in office since 1968 and is the longest-serving Republican in Senate history, said the interests of justice would be best served if he commented after the investigation.

“I continue to believe this investigation should proceed to its conclusion without any appearance that I have attempted to influence its outcome,” Stevens said. “The legal process should be allowed to proceed so that all the facts can be established and the truth determined.”

Located 40 miles south of Anchorage, Girdwood is nestled in a valley next to Mount Alyeska and has evolved from a gold mining town into Alaska’s only year-round resort community.

The Justice Department’s probe into Allen’s relationships has led to charges against state lawmakers and contractors. Last year, FBI raids on the offices of several Alaska lawmakers included Stevens‘ son, former Alaska Senate President Ben Stevens.

Neither the U.S. senator nor his son has been charged.