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Young Out in GOP Housecleaning

By Ben Pershing

Amid the intense focus on two Democrats with ethics problems, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Rep. Charles Rangel (N.Y.), the GOP took a quiet step toward putting its own house in order Wednesday by pushing Rep. Don Young (Alaska) out of a key committee post.

Rep Don Young (R-Alaska), shown in a file photo from Oct. 26, 2004.(AP Photo/Al Grillo, File)

Young was the top Republican on the Natural Resources Committee and has been either the chairman or ranking member of either that panel or the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee since 1994. But that streak came to an end yesterday, when Young bowed out of the running for the top Resources post in the 111th Congress. Though he nominally stepped down of his own volition, Young got a solid push from House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), who was opposed to the Alaskan's keeping the job and made sure Young knew that.

Young is under federal investigation on on multiple fronts, including his relationship with the oil services company VECO, part of the same probe that led to the October conviction of Sen. Ted Stevens (R). Alaska voters decided to give Stevens the boot on Election Day but -- surprisingly -- reelected Young to his 18th term in the House. That won him the prized cover photo of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington's "Most Embarrassing Reelected Members of Congress" report.

But just because Alaskans seem to want Young to keep his job doesn't mean his Republican colleagues feel the same way. GOP leaders have been intensifying their efforts to paint the Democratic majority as corrupt, with a months-long focus on Rangel now supplemented by the Blagojevich scandal. That effort has been somewhat complicated by the fact that Republicans are dealing with some ongoing scandals of their own. How, for example, could they plausibly call for Rangel (who faces an ethics committee probe but no federal investigation that we know of) to step down from his Ways and Means chairmanship if Young was allowed to remain in his committee post?

Boehner and his fellow leaders pushed Young out the door Wednesday, and most of the other Republicans currently in ethical trouble either lost (Rep. Tom Feeney) or are retiring (Reps. Rick Renzi, John Doolittle and Jerry Weller). In addition to Young, a few other returning Republicans, including Appropriations ranking member Jerry Lewis (Calif.), appear to be under federal investigation. So it may not be possible for the GOP to clear its ethical decks completely, but throwing Young overboard was a definite start.

By Ben Pershing  |  December 11, 2008; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  Ethics and Rules , GOP Leaders , House  
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Next: Rep. Hoekstra to Retire, Eyeing Bid for Governor


yes... Young did win, going away, but it was because the Democratic Party put up an extreme liberal, (Lieberman liberal) who was only running to be part of the AIPAC war coalition (obliterate Iran).

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | December 11, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Bank of America and Mr. Higgins missing $millions, It can happen to you, my fellow Americans

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Posted by: srmaxhiggins | December 13, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Let us all keep in mind that the Bush Administration has found a way, in the last six months, to have his Administration take over and appoint 'Czars' for the Banking, Investment, Mortgage, and soon the Auto Industries. All he needs to do now is find a way to remain in office and he's got a ready-made dictatorship all set up.

Posted by: RobinSzcz | December 14, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

The average consumers who need an occasional boost between paydays are no longer the only ones turning to payday loans. We can see that even larger companies really need the help of fast payday loans because of the economical crisis that they are in. The government has been making fast payday loans to enormous credit firms that have run their assets dry. The mortgage and consumer credit giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, were given enormous stimulus packages a couple months ago in order for them to stay afloat during the hard hits of the recession. In Washington DC on Tuesday, December 9th, the mortgage firms were subject to a hearing by the House Oversight Committee where they were grilled by Congress over their corporate strategies that led to the near destruction of their companies. What had apparently happened was that the leadership of those companies had invested in mortgage backing for their cash flow. So they basically bought other people’s debt, thinking that it meant instant cash flow, especially when they raised the interest rates on the mortgages that they purchased. Borrowers who had borrowed money from irresponsible lenders started defaulting on their loans, thus, the companies that had bought their debt began to stagger towards the brink. House Oversight Committee Chairman Henry Waxman called their action irresponsible, especially after senior risk managers had questioned the call to make and invest in such loans. This shocking incident emphasizes the importance of being extremely responsible with your finances. Budget properly, practice smart spending habits, save money, and don’t put money into anything that looks too good to be true. If you need some help with a sudden emergency expense, payday loans are available at a reasonable rate to keep your finances above water until your next payday. Click to read more on Fast Payday Loans.

Posted by: FranroseO | December 15, 2008 3:06 AM | Report abuse

As a conservative Republican, I am glad Republican leader Rohner made clear Young should lose his committee chairs after conviction by jury even pending appeals, given that he had chosen to testify and the jury clearly did not believe him. I hope the Senate removes him and tat the Republicans support that removal.

I wish the article had given more information about the positions of others in Congress and the party in this removal and other ethics issues, including those facing Democrt Rangel.

The average person I know, including members of the immediate and near extended families of office holders and politicians of both parties, is so disgusted and discouraged by the political process and legal sysrtem that, contrary to my personal position that this contempt is often justified, they refuse to register or vote.

I want our leadership to get rid of its own politicians when they prove dishonest or corrupt, and I think it is the duty of the other party to make sure that both parties clean their own houses or put somebody up and defeat the worst of the bad apples.

Posted by: peterschamberlain | December 15, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

"GOP leaders have been intensifying their efforts to paint the Democratic majority as corrupt, with a months-long focus on Rangel now supplemented by the Blagojevich scandal."

This will be hard to do with former Senator Stevens and Representatives Duke Cunningham and Bob Ney in or headed to the penitentiary for corruption -- this plus Larry Craig and other sleazballs.

Posted by: hangdogit | December 15, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Why does political corruption have to be associated with a person's political party. Low down people are just what they are - Scoundrels for lack of a better word. Stop trying to judge people by the color of their skin, their gender, their political affiliation. If you are a crook then that's what you are and you should suffer the consequences that crooks deserve. Hopefully, a stint in the federal prison system.

Posted by: Ethea | December 15, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

If the RNC was serious about housecleaning they would start their own criminal charges against Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld. Delay, Frist Zakheim and some others. This would show they are serious about putting an end to criminal activity while in office. {DON'T ANYONE START HOLDING THEIR BREATH}

Posted by: SWAMPYPD | December 15, 2008 6:21 PM | Report abuse

The Borgen Project has informative statistics on addressing global poverty.

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This organization has the ability, resources, and policy-makers to suppress the threat of global poverty by enacting legislation here in the US, which is tied to the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals. Please support organizations such as The Borgen Project so that we may rid the world of poverty.

Posted by: atsegga | December 18, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

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