Federal authorities have subpoenaed several municipal bond firms seeking information about their business ties to Essex County, N.J., according to sources familiar with the investigation.

The request is apparently part of a widening federal probe of Essex County government officials, including county executive Thomas D'Alessio and a prominent New Jersey bond consultant, John M. Alati. Alati is a former county official and currently a consultant for A.G. Edwards & Sons Inc., which is one of the firms that has been subpoenaed in the case.

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