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Don Young's Pitch to the Lobbyists

POSTED: 05:56 PM ET, 07/ 7/2008 by Derek Kravitz

Don Young
Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska)(Al Grillo - AP).

It's not exactly a revelation that lawmakers often look for ways to raise campaign money from lobbyists who might have reason to seek their support someday. But it is somewhat unusual for an explicit e-mailed pitch to the lobbyists to surface publicly.

McClatchy Newspapers says it has obtained such an e-mail showing that U.S. Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) last year turned to the "AK Wolfpack," a group of more than 20 lobbyists, including former Young staffers and retired former congressmen, to help his re-election campaign.

The newspaper chain's Sean Cockerham and Erika Bolstad report that Young's chief of staff, Mike Anderson, sent the group the e-mail, telling them that national Democrats planned aggressive fundraising and claims of misconduct by Young to topple the 35-year incumbent congressman.

If they succeed, Anderson warned, "you and your clients will be impacted."

Since the e-mail was sent on June 8, 2007, Young has received more than $90,000 from its recipients, their lobbying firms or clients of their firms -- nearly a quarter of the roughly $400,000 raised by Young and his political action committee over the same period through the first quarter of this year, according to federal reports.

Young has been in the spotlight in recent months after top Senate Democrats and Republicans endorsed taking action in April in connection with a $10 million earmark that Young, the former chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, inserted into a huge 2005 highway funding bill.

Young's staff acknowledged that aides "corrected" the earmark just before it went to the White House for President Bush's signature, specifying that the money would go to a proposed highway interchange project on Interstate 75 near Naples, Fla. Young also sponsored a now-infamous $223 million measure to build a "Bridge to Nowhere" in Alaska, a project that was killed in 2005 after it sparked widespread outrage.

By Derek Kravitz |  July 7, 2008; 5:56 PM ET
Previous: VA Official Scolded for Ties to Advocacy Group | Next: Audit: 'Small Business' Money Given to Big Business

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Status quo for the GOP. They MUST BE soundly punished come November for allowing unchecked the reign of terror of King George II as well as the for culture of corruption that has permeated the Government from 1995 through 2006. Vote a straight Democratic ticket this year; from President to local dogcatcher. "We won't (cannot) get fooled again".

Posted by: Anonymous | July 8, 2008 1:08 PM

The $223 million earmark for Alaska's Ketchikan "bridge to nowhere" was removed in 2005 as an earmark, but the state still got the money. In 2007, Governor Palin decided not to fund the bridge, so it was killed then. Interestingly, the state still built the expensive 3 mile highway that was supposed to attach to the bridge, and now Alaska is trying to figure out how the state can connect to that "highway to nowhere" (i.e., to a few beach cabins) so it doesn't have to pay back the federal dollars spent on this useless roadway.

Don Young and Ted Stevens also were forced in 2005 to change a $228 million earmark for the Knik Arm "bridge to nowhere" in Alaska, officially named "Don Young's Way" in SAFETEA-LU. This money also went to the state without an earmark. This second "bridge to nowhere" still is proceeding forward. DC-based lobbyists in 2007 (perhaps paid for with federal money?) continued to ensure that the bridge was not "killed" through federal legislation.

Posted by: Lois Epstein, Alaska Transportation Priorities Project | July 9, 2008 5:09 PM

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