Don Young Says He’s Been Cleared

By Libby Casey

Representative Don Young says federal authorities have dropped their corruption investigation of him.  Young’s spokeswoman Meredith Kenny says the Alaska Republican’s legal team was notified yesterday by the Justice Department that it won’t prosecute.

Kenny says the Congressman isn’t ready to talk publicly.  His lawyer John Dowd also wouldn’t comment, and said in an e-mail this morning  that he has nothing to say beyond the statement from Young’s office.  Alaska’s veteran Congressman has spent more than $1.2-million of his campaign money on legal fees in the past three years.

Young faced federal investigations into corruption related to the oil field services company Veco – a probe that ended the careers of a handful of Alaska state politicians and led to the prosecution of former U-S Senator Ted Stevens.

Veco’s former executives Bill Allen and Rick Smith told federal officials they made illegal and unreported campaign contributions to Young between 1993 and 2006 – for the Congressman’s annual pig-roast fundraiser.  They also claimed that they gave him gifts including golf clubs.  In federal documents made public last year, Young was identified as “United States Representative A” – but has been the state’s only representative since 1973.  His office later tried to reimburse Veco for more than $37-thousand in campaign expenses.

Young has also been under scrutiny for an earmark inserted into a 2005 transportation bill.  The $10-million “Coconut Road” earmark was stuck in after the bill had passed Congress and no one has ever taken responsibility for its inclusion.  A Florida developer who threw a fundraiser for Young wanted the project.  Congress had concerns and referred the matter to the feds.

The Justice Department declined yesterday to comment on Young’s case.  It does not typically confirm or comment on ongoing investigations — or on their conclusion if charges are not brought.

Young is traveling the state in campaign-mode right now, and was in Kenai yesterday when he got word from his lawyer that the investigation, which has lasted years, is over.


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