Despite Alaska Scandals, Don Young Wants More Earmarks

Don Young photoUndeterred by his recent ethics troubles, Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) defied his House Republican colleagues’ ban on earmark requests on Tuesday, posting his appeal for billions of dollars in funding for state and national projects on his website.

For the fiscal year 2011, Young’s earmark requests include $1.1 billion for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program, $30 million for the Fish and Wildlife Service programs, and $1 million for sea crab research.

Young’s earmark requests fly in the face of a recent promise by House Republicans to abstain from all such applications for one year.

“House Republicans took an important step toward showing the American people we’re serious about reform by adopting an immediate, unilateral ban on all earmarks,” announced House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) on Mar. 11.

The GOP’s decision to restrain such spending followed a move by Congressional Democrats to ban earmarks going to non-profit companies.

Young has been investigated in the past for a multitude of alleged ethics violations, including exchanging earmarks for political contributions, abuse of position, and possible bribery. In 2005, the Department of Justice investigated whether Young earmarked $10 million for a construction project in exchange for campaign donations.

Last October, former VECO executives Bill Allen and Rick Smith filed a memo with the Court stating that they paid for Young’s annuals pig roast fundraisers from 1993 to 2006, something which was not disclosed on Young’s financial disclosure forms. Allen and Smith pled guilty to bribery and other offenses in 2007, prompting a federal investigation into the political dealings of Young and Alaska State Senate President Ben Stevens (R-Anchorage), son of former Seantor Ted Stevens.

Young has not been charged in the investigation.

Alana Goodman is NLPC’s Capitol Hill Reporter.


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