Stories by Tony Hopfinger

  • Cheney's Link to Sen. Ted Stevens Corruption Trial

    A two-year-old letter by Vice President Dick Cheney that pushed a controversial Alaska natural-gas pipeline bill is getting renewed scrutiny because of recently disclosed evidence in the Justice Department's corruption case against Sen. Ted Stevens. In a conversation secretly tape-recorded by the FBI on June 25, 2006, Stevens discussed ways to get a pipeline bill through the Alaska Legislature with Bill Allen, an oil-services executive accused of providing the senator with about $250,000 in undisclosed financial benefits. According to a Justice motion, Stevens told Allen, "I'm gonna try to see if I can get some bigwigs from back here and say, 'Look … you gotta get this done'." Two days later, Cheney wrote a letter to the Alaska Legislature urging members to "promptly enact" a bill to build the pipeline. The letter was considered unusual because the White House rarely contacts state lawmakers about pending legislative matters. It also angered state Democrats, who accused Cheney of...
  • Sex Abuse in Alaska Church

    Decades of abuse by Roman Catholic priests and volunteers still taint Eskimo villagers in rural Alaska.
  • Alaskans Ponder a Future Without Ted Stevens

    When federal agents raided the home of Ted Stevens in an Alaska ski town last week, looking for evidence in a bribery probe, they weren't just investigating the most senior member of the U.S. Senate. They were also exposing a bullying, nepotistic political culture that has flourished on the Last Frontier for decades. Despite its vastness, Alaska is home to just 670,000 people, and it's been dominated for years by a handful of players: Stevens, 83, former chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee; Don Young, the state's lone House member, and various protégés and oilmen. The federal investigation widened earlier this year when an oil-company executive pleaded guilty to bribing state lawmakers, and has now snared Stevens, Young and other lawmakers who have—until now—wheeled and dealed without consequence.Stevens and Young, whose connections with the same oilman are under investigation, have long been regarded as outrageous figures in Washington. Along with former senator (and...