Ethics: Rep. Young broke rules

Greg Nash

Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) violated House rules by improperly accepting gifts and spending campaign funds for personal use, according to a report from the House Ethics Committee released Friday. 

An investigative ethics panel reviewed 15 out of 25 hunting trips Young took and found he violated a House rule “which prohibits a Member from converting campaign funds to personal use” and another rule that “prohibits any person from converting a campaign contribution or donation to personal use.”

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The congressman also failed to report some gifts on his financial disclosure statements, the report said. Young accepted these gifts and expenses related to the hunting trips between 2001 and 2013. 

The committee issued a “letter of reproval” to Young in April with the probe’s findings, and recommended that he pay back his campaign and donors. 

“The Committee finds that Representative Young should repay the value of those improper trips and gifts — $59,063.74 — to his campaign and to the donors of the gifts, respectively, and that Representative Young should amend his Financial Disclosure Statements to properly report the gifts he failed to disclose.”

Young told the committee he regretted his actions.

“I accept the House Committee on Ethics’ report and regret the oversights it has identified,” he said in a statement Friday. “There were a number of instances where I failed to exercise due care in complying with the House’s Code of Conduct and for that I apologize.

“I have made each of the payments recommended by the Committee and have taken significant steps since 2007 to strengthen my office’s polices for compliance with the Code of Conduct to ensure that these types of oversights do not happen again,” Young added.

His office confirmed he repaid the roughly $59,000. The report said he owed his campaign committee, Alaskans for Don Young, $30,936.33 and 10 private individuals or companies $28,127.41. 

The committee unanimously voted on Wednesday to make the report public. 

Its findings were the culmination of a lengthy review that began in April 2010 in conjunction with the Justice Department.

Once Young files “properly completed amendments” to his financial disclosure statements, the committee said it will “consider this matter closed." 

Young has served in Congress since 1973.  He is running for reelection and isn't facing a serious primary challenge.