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US senator indicted on corruption charges

[JURIST] A DC federal grand jury Tuesday indicted [text, PDF; DOJ press release] US Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) [official website] on seven counts of making false statements [18 USC s. 1001(a) text] relating to an alleged corruption scheme and for falsifying his Financial Disclosure Forms. Stevens allegedly accepted about $250,000 in gifts over an eight-year period from the founder of oil services and engineering company VECO Corp. [corporate website] and in exchange reportedly used his influence in Washington to improperly benefit the company and its employees. The indictment asserts that:

Stevens, while a sitting United States Senator, knowingly and willfully engaged in a scheme to conceal a material fact, that is, his continuing receipt of hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of things of value from a private corporation and its chief executive officer by, among other things, failing to report them, as was required, on Stevens' required yearly Financial Disclosure Forms.
According to the indictment, the gifts included home improvements, vehicle trades and other smaller gifts. VECO founder Bill Allen and another VECO executive, Richard Smith, pleaded guilty [press release] in May 2007 "to providing more than $400,000 in corrupt payments to public officials from the state of Alaska." CBS and AP have more. The Anchorage Daily News has local coverage.

Last year, agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service searched Stevens' home [JURIST report] as part of a continuing investigation into corruption in Alaska. The Department of Justice (DOJ) reports that so far seven politicians and lobbyists have been convicted in connection with the investigation, including former Alaska state Representative Tom Anderson [JURIST report]. In October 2007, Anderson was sentenced [JURIST report] to five years in prison for accepting nearly $26,000 he believed to be from private correctional facilities firm Cornell Industries [corporate website] in exchange for Anderson's influence on then-pending measures on halfway houses. The deal had actually been arranged by an FBI informant inside Cornell who recorded incriminating conversations with Anderson and former lobbyist Bill Bobrick. Bobrick pleaded guilty in May 2007 to corruption charges.

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