An office that reports directly to the U.S. attorney general is looking into questions about the Justice Department's handling of an investigation into former Veco Corp. chairman Bill Allen.
Allen was a key witness in an Alaska corruption investigation that ensnared then-Sen. Ted Stevens. Last year, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said politics played no role in the department's decision not to charge Allen with allegedly having an affair with a 15-year-old girl.
Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska asked the department's inspector general and Office of Professional Responsibility to investigate the government's handling of Allen. Murkowski said she'd like to believe Justice Department staff followed the law and policies in investigating Allen, but she noted prosecutorial misconduct in the Stevens' case.
The office says it has launched a "preliminary inquiry into the potential misconduct allegations" raised by Murkowski.