Alaska Sen. Murkowski calls for probe of why feds won't prosecute Bill Allen

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski is asking for an investigation into why the federal Justice Department abandoned the teen sex crimes case against former Veco Corp. Chairman Bill Allen and blocked the state's effort to prosecute Allen.

Murkowski last week wrote to the Justice Department's inspector general and its Office of Professional Responsibility, saying the attorney general has never given a good explanation and the decision needs to be investigated.

"The question of why the Justice Department not only declined to pursue sex-abuse charges against Mr. Allen, but also denied the State of Alaska the opportunity to do so, remains a matter of great public interest in the State of Alaska ... Only an objective, thorough and independent investigation whose conclusions are made public will bring closure to these questions," she wrote.

Murkowski wrote the letter the day before Thanksgiving and has not heard back. "With the letter having been sent over the holiday weekend, we anticipate their processing protocol is sluggish. We do, though, anticipate a response," said Murkowski spokesman Matt Felling.

Murkowski said in an interview Monday that she's long been trying to find out what happened with the Allen case.

"I've done it privately in my office, sitting down with the powers that be, I have done it formally on the record in hearings, I have done it in letters with follow-up phone calls. And the responses I've received have been wholly inadequate."

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment on the matter Monday. Allen himself was released last week from a New Mexico halfway house after serving a sentence starting in January 2010 for bribing state lawmakers.

Allen was the key government witness in the botched federal investigation of corruption in Alaska politics. He testified at the trials of two state lawmakers and of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, whose 2008 conviction was thrown out by a judge because federal prosecutors failed to turn over evidence to the defense that would have helped Stevens.

The Justice Department's questionable behavior included withholding information from defense lawyers about the sex-abuse allegations against Allen that could have made him less credible to jurors, a recent report from a special prosecutor found.

Allen, 74, pursued teenage girls during his rise to the top of Alaska's business and political world, according to investigators.

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