Alaska Senator Charged with Corruption

     WASHINGTON (CN) – A federal grand jury indicted Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, the longest-serving Republican senator, on corruption charges. Stevens, 84, was charged with seven counts of falsely reporting income from gifts and home renovations.

     A year-long investigation revealed a relationship between Stevens and oil executive Bill Allen, whose company, VECO Corp., won millions of dollars’ worth of federal contracts with Stevens’ help. VECO supervised hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of renovations on Stevens’ Girdwood, Alaska home, almost doubling it in size.
     Federal agents also investigated the senator’s son, Ben Stevens, then serving as president of the Alaska Senate, as part of last year’s inquiry into illicit payments made to contractors and lobbyists.
     Stevens has served in the Senate for 40 years and helped Alaska obtain statehood in 1959. He is up for reelection this November against popular Anchorage mayor, Mark Begich. Begich would be the first Democratic senator for Alaska since 1974.      
     Stevens, a World War II veteran, was first appointed to fill a vacant Senate seat in 1968 by former Alaska governor Walter Hickel, and has been re-elected six times since.
     The indictment will force Stevens to abandon posts as senior Republican on the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and the defense appropriations subcommittee.

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