- The Washington Times - Friday, February 16, 2007

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — The FBI is investigating whether Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons failed to properly report gifts or payments from a software company that was awarded secret military contracts when he was in Congress.

A federal law-enforcement official confirmed the FBI probe yesterday. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation, said the inquiry is focusing on what role Mr. Gibbons played in awarding contracts to ETreppid Technologies LLC.

Mr. Gibbons, a Republican who was sworn in last month after five terms in Congress, has denied any wrongdoing, and no charges have been filed.

His office issued a statement yesterday acknowledging the governor’s close friendship with Warren Trepp, the company’s owner, but insisted there was “no special power” that Mr. Gibbons could have used in awarding defense contracts.

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that new evidence had emerged in a lawsuit in Reno, including e-mails to Mr. Trepp discussing a payment or gifts to Mr. Gibbons when he was a congressman. The e-mails also show Mr. Gibbons using his congressional office to help the company seek classified military and civilian contracts, the newspaper said.

“Please don’t forget to bring the money you promised Jim and Dawn,” Mr. Trepp’s wife, Jale, wrote in a March 22, 2005, e-mail, days before she and Mr. Trepp embarked on the Caribbean cruise with Mr. Gibbons and his wife, Dawn, a former Nevada state assembly member.

According to the Journal, Mr. Trepp responded minutes later, writing: “Don’t you ever send this kind of message to me! Erase this message from your computer right now!”

Mr. Gibbons, who served on the House intelligence and Armed Services committees, did not disclose the cruise and travel on Mr. Trepp’s leased private jet, as required by House ethics rules. He later asked the House ethics committee for an exemption but left office before any action was taken.

Mr. Trepp’s company holds millions of dollars worth of classified software contracts from the Air Force, Special Operations Command and the CIA.

Mr. Trepp, a former chief trader for convicted junk-bond dealer Michael Milken, also has denied any wrongdoing. He did not return calls yesterday to his office in Reno.

His attorney, Steven Peek, told the Journal that Mr. Trepp “has had no inquires or questions from any federal officials about his relationship with Jim Gibbons.”

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