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Tuesday, July 31, 2007 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Corrected version

Feds raid Stevens' Alaska home

The Associated Press

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Federal agents searched the home of Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, on Monday, focusing on records related to his relationship with an oil-field services contractor who pleaded guilty in a public-corruption investigation, a law-enforcement official said.

Stevens, 83, is under scrutiny for a 2000 renovation project that more than doubled the size of his home in Girdwood, an exclusive ski-resort area 40 miles from Anchorage. The project was overseen by Bill Allen, a contractor who has pleaded guilty to bribing Alaska state legislators.

Allen is the founder of VECO, an Alaska-based oil-field services and engineering company that 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 house and eventually entered it.

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, the longest-serving Republican in Senate history, said he would not comment on details of the inquiry to avoid "any appearance that I have attempted to influence its outcome."

The Justice Department's investigation 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.

Stevens has served since 1968 and is Alaska's most powerful elected official, responsible for bringing home billions of federal dollars in a state short on infrastructure, from roads to basic sewer and water systems in remote villages. Anchorage's international airport is named for Stevens, and he has faced only token opposition in recent elections.

Alaska's only congressman, Republican Don Young, also is under federal investigation as part of the ongoing corruption probe, a federal law-enforcement official told The Associated Press last week. Part of the Young investigation involves his campaign-finance practices, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Information in this article, originally published July 31, 2007, was corrected August 19, 2007. In a story Tuesday about federal agents searching the home of U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, The Associated Press erroneously reported that oil-field services contractor Bill Allen was jailed in a public corruption investigation. Allen pleaded guilty May 7 in U.S. District Court to extortion, bribery and conspiracy to impede the Internal Revenue Service, but has not been detained, according to the Justice Department. His sentencing has been postponed until December, the department said.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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