Backgrounder: What's behind the Alaska investigation

A broad federal investigation of public corruption has been under way in Alaska for more than four years, although it didn’t become widely known until Aug. 31, 2006. That’s when teams of federal agents executed search warrants at the offices of six state legislators, as well as others, in Anchorage, Juneau and elsewhere around the state.

The government has since brought indictments against five state legislators. Three have been convicted by juries and two are awaiting trial. Four others - two former top officials with Veco Corp., the former chief of staff of Gov. Frank Murkowski and a private-prison lobbyist - have entered guilty pleas and are cooperating with the government.

The investigation continues, with grand juries hearing secret testimony in Anchorage and Washington, D.C. In July 2007, federal agents searched the Girdwood home of U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, drawing national attention. Alaska's sole congressman, Don Young, is also under federal investigation.

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