by John Hawkins | July 25, 2007 10:00 am
This is just sickening and quite frankly, I hope Ted Stevens and Don Young, who are both useless as Republicans because they spend all their time trying to bring home pork to Alaska, will both resign in disgrace rather than drag this out if they’re guilty,
Rep. Don Young of Alaska, the former chairman of the House Transportation Committee, now is the subject of a continuing criminal inquiry involving possible political favors for a company in Alaska, people close to the case said. Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, the powerful former chairman of the Appropriations Committee and the longest-serving Senate Republican, is also now under criminal investigation, these people said.
Federal investigators are examining whether Rep. Young or Sen. Stevens accepted bribes, illegal gratuities or unreported gifts from VECO Corp., Alaska’s largest oil-field engineering firm, people close to the case said.
It isn’t known what VECO allegedly may have received in return. The company has been awarded a series of federal contracts since 2000, including contracts to provide logistics support for arctic research, among other projects.
The two lawmakers are among the highest-ranking members of either party to come under scrutiny in the wave of public-corruption probes that has swept Washington in the past three years. In the past year, two congressmen have been sent to prison, a third has been indicted for bribery, and at least a half-dozen others are under investigation in separate cases.
For a decade, former VECO Chief Executive Bill Allen has held fund-raisers for Mr. Young in Anchorage every August, known as “The Pig Roast,” participants said. Public records show contributions to Mr. Young of at least $157,000 from VECO employees and its political-action committee between 1996 and 2006, the last year the event was held.
Mr. Young amended his campaign-finance filings in January to reflect $38,000 in payments to Mr. Allen, who is now cooperating with federal investigators in the case. The refunds, which haven’t previously been reported, were labeled “fund-raising costs” in documents filed with the Federal Election Commission.
…t has been widely reported that VECO is at the center of a federal investigation of corruption in the Alaska state legislature. But the inquiry into Mr. Young, as well as details of the allegations against Mr. Stevens, haven’t previously been known.
VECO was acquired in June by CH2M Hill, a closely held Colorado engineering firm, after Mr. Allen, VECO’s former CEO, agreed in May to plead guilty to charges of bribery, conspiracy and extortion.
Mr. Stevens has publicly said that he was asked to retain documents related to the federal investigation of his son, Ben Stevens, and other members of the state legislature, and related to VECO’s role in the remodeling of a family home in Alaska in 2000. Sen. Stevens recently hired a criminal-defense lawyer. He has said he isn’t a target of the Alaska probe and hasn’t violated any law.
VECO executives, including Mr. Allen, have been big supporters of Mr. Stevens as well. And while VECO has won a string of federal contracts in recent years, it isn’t known which contracts are the focus of the investigation.”
Neither Young nor Stevens should be allowed to serve on any committees while these charges are being investigated and if the Republican leadership thinks there is any truth whatsoever to these charges, they should strongly urge both men to resign immediately.
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