In response to a court order, the Department of Justice (DOJ) produced hundreds of pages from the FBI’s investigative files to CREW several weeks ago regarding Rep. Don Young (R-AK). Even with redactions, those documents tell a remarkable story of greed and corruption.
The documents pertain to an investigation of Rep. Young’s role in procuring a $10 million earmark, benefitting one of his campaign contributors, inserted into a FY 2006 transportation bill after both houses had voted on it. In 2008, Congress demanded that DOJ investigate what has come to be called the “Coconut Road” earmark, though documents reveal that six months before this demand, in June 2007, the FBI and several Florida U.S. Attorneys’ Offices had already opened a public corruption investigation of Rep. Young for “systemic abuse” of his position of trust.
The documents detail Rep. Young’s misuse of campaign funds to finance personal expenses of both himself and his wife, Lu Young, to cover personal travel home to Alaska, meals unrelated to campaign activities, laundry and dry cleaning, and even hunting trips. In the end, despite years of work and mountains of evidence, DOJ’s Public Integrity Section pulled the plug on the Young investigation because it did not have 100 percent confidence it could get a conviction.
Nevertheless, some documents suggest Rep. Young may be the subject of an ongoing investigation. The FBI has made a number of redactions relying on FOIA Exemption 7(A), intended to protect against interference with “enforcement proceedings.” These include documents that appear to pertain solely to Rep. Young, such as documents summarizing the case against Rep. Young and the objective in moving forward.
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