By Reid Wilson - 06/11/09 08:03 PM EDT
An investigation into Rep. Don Young’s (R-Alaska) relationship with an oil services corporation in his home state has cost the 18-term congressman more than $1.3 million, according to records made public this week.
Young, who narrowly won both a contentious primary and general election in 2008 while under federal investigation, spent $1.287 million in campaign funds on four separate law firms throughout the last election cycle, Federal Election Commission reports show.
Federal agents focused attention on Young as part of an investigation into bribes allegedly steered to public officials by executives at Veco Corp., an Alaskan oil services company. The company’s chief executive officer went to jail, as did several Republican state legislators.
Then-Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) was swept up in the investigation for improvements the company made to his house near Anchorage, work that Stevens did not pay for. Stevens was convicted, though earlier this year his conviction was thrown out when Attorney General Eric Holder determined Justice Department officials withheld key documents from Stevens’s legal team.
Young’s additional money came from longtime supporters as well as corporations that would otherwise be banned from giving Young’s campaign money under federal election laws. Most of the gifts came from individuals and companies in Alaska and Washington state.
Fishing and construction corporations dominate the list of donors to Young’s legal defense network. Aleutian Spray Fisheries Inc., Bering Pacific Services Co., Trident Seafoods Corp. and Ocean Prowler LLC all wrote $5,000 checks, as did a Ketchikan towing company and a Fairbanks charter plane service.
Young got a $2,500 gift from William Corbus, an Alaskan businessman and member of the Alaska Permanent Fund’s board of directors who has given thousands to the state’s GOP delegation over the years. Chad Moore, president of a Washington state-based construction company, chipped in another $5,000.
Another Washington state resident, George Osborne, steered $10,000 to Young through an individual contribution and a check from his construction company.
Young likely needed the help; the investigation into his actions began as early as the first quarter of 2007, when Young began paying huge legal fees.
First elected in March 1973 after a career as a schoolteacher and a riverboat captain, Young is not a wealthy man. The Republican congressman has between $266,000 and $616,000 in assets, not counting his primary residence in Alaska.