Alaska Senator Charged with Corruption

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A federal grand jury indicted Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, thelongest-serving Republican senator, on corruption charges. Stevens, 84,was charged with seven counts of falsely reporting income from giftsand home renovations.
    A year-long investigation revealed arelationship between Stevens and oil executive Bill Allen, whosecompany, VECO Corp., won millions of dollars' worth of federalcontracts with Stevens' help. VECO supervised hundreds of thousands ofdollars worth of renovations on Stevens' Girdwood, Alaska home, almostdoubling it in size.
    Federal agents also investigated thesenator's son, Ben Stevens, then serving as president of the AlaskaSenate, as part of last year's inquiry into illicit payments made tocontractors and lobbyists.
    Stevens has served in the Senatefor 40 years and helped Alaska obtain statehood in 1959. He is up forreelection 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 tofill a vacant Senate seat in 1968 by former Alaska governor WalterHickel, and has been re-elected six times since.
    Theindictment will force Stevens to abandon posts as senior Republican onthe Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and the defenseappropriations subcommittee.

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