By BRENDAN J. LYONS and JAMES M. ODATO, Staff writers Last updated: 2:02 p.m., Tuesday, June 10, 2008
ALBANY -- FBI agents removed files last Friday from the State Street offices of William D. Powers, a lobbyist and the state's former Republican chairman. Powers, of Chatham, has been a lobbyist since he stepped down as state GOP chairman in 2001 after holding the position for 11 years. It's unclear why the FBI took files from Powers' office at 90 State St., or, whether it is part of a criminal investigation.
"The FBI conducted investigative activity at that location last week relating to an ongoing investigation. No other details are available at this time,'' said Paul Holstein, the FBI's chief division counsel in Albany. Powers had been credited in the 1990s with reviving the state's GOP from bankruptcy and turmoil. His most notable achievement came in 1994 behind the successful inaugural campaign of former Gov. George Pataki's victory over then-Gov. Mario Cuomo. A person familiar with the circumstances of the FBI's raid said it does not appear to be connected to an ongoing federal grand jury investigation of Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno, R-Brunswick. Powers could not be immediately reached for comment. An attorney for Powers said he is not a "target'' of the FBI and that he is cooperating with the investigation. The attorney declined further comment.