For the first time, earmark champion Rep. Don Young (R-AK) has been linked to criminal activity by the government. It came in a memo filed last week in the sentencing of former VECO CEO Bill Allen, the central figure in the corruption probe that ensnared former Senator Ted Stevens.
In May, we expressed concern that the overturning of Stevens’ conviction — and Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision not to retry him — endangered the prosecution of Young and other corrupt Alaska politicians.
Allen, and another VECO executive named Rick Smith, pled guilty to bribery and other offenses in 2007. The government is seeking a 46 month prison sentence and a fine of $750,000 for Allen, and 42 months and a fine of $7,500 to $75,000 for Smith.
According to the memo, which is of stipulated facts in the case between prosecutors and Allen’s lawyers, Young accepted golf clubs worth $1,000 in 2006 but did not report the gift on his financial disclosure forms. Moreover, VECO paid for Young’s annual pig roast. The memo states:
From approximately 1993 to 2006, ALLEN and SMITH authorized the use of VECO funds to pay for the expenses associated with a yearly fundraiser for United States Representative A. Each year, ALLEN and SMITH arranged for the purchase of catering expenses, liquor, equipment rentals and other associated costs for a fundraiser for United States Representative A. These expenses were paid using VECO’s corporate funds, and amounted to approximately $10, 000 to $15,000 each year. The total monies paid by VECO for these fundraisers thus totaled approximately $130,000 to $195,000.
None of the pig roast expenses were reported on Young’s financial disclosure forms.
Although Young is not named, he is referenced as “U.S. Representative A.” Since Alaska has only one Congressman, it isn’t too hard to figure out who it is. Click here to download a 12-page pdf of the memo.
Like House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY), Young has spent over $1 million out of campaign funds on lawyers to fight off corruption charges.
The investigation of Stevens and Young was first reported by the late John Wilke of the Wall Street Journal in 2007, but until last week, the government never before implicated Young in criminal activity.
Is Alaska Corruption Investigation Still Alive?