FBI agents in Alaska, armed with search warrants, descended without warning Thursday at the offices of several Alaskan lawmakers in what appears to be a major investigation involving VECO, the oil field service company that has long been one the most generous political contributors to Alaska politicians.
Among the offices searched were that of State Senate President Ben Stevens, the son of US Senator Ted Stevens, and an important political ally of VECO in the state legislature. According to the Anchorage Daily News, Stevens has closer connections to the company than simply receiving campaign contributions:
In disclosures he was required to file as a legislator, Stevens said he was paid $243,000 over the last five years as a "consultant" to Veco. Whenever he was asked to describe what he did for the money, Stevens refused to answer. The company also refused to say.
Over the years, VECO has also been a big supporter of Alaska’s congressional delegation. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the company ranks as the top overall contributor to Rep. Don Young, with over $125,000 in contributions since 1989. It ranks as the sixth biggest contributor to Sen. Ted Stevens over the same period, with a total of $45,750. It’s also been the top contributor to Alaska’s junior Senator Lisa Murkowski, with $44,250 in contributions since 2002.
In the current election cycle, VECO is the second-biggest Alaska contributor to federal campaigns, with $71,000 in donations so far this year. It ranked as the state’s number one contributor in each of the last four election cycles.
So far the FBI has been mum on the purpose of Thursday’s raids, except to say that they executed about 20 search warrants in Anchorage, Juneau and three other Alaska communities. Stay tuned.