"Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you”


Thursday, July 26, 2007

AK-Sen & At-Large: Rep. "Mink" Young Also FBI Target

It has been no secret over the past couple of months that Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens has been the target of the FBI's bribery investigation. Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal added Rep. Don Young's name to the list of GOP officials tied to the influence peddling investigation:

Federal investigators are examining whether Rep. Young or Sen. Stevens accepted bribes, illegal gratuities or unreported gifts from VECO Corp., Alaska's largest oil-field engineering firm, people close to the case said.
It isn't known what VECO allegedly may have received in return. The company has been awarded a series of federal contracts since 2000, including contracts to provide logistics support for arctic research, among other projects.
The two lawmakers are among the highest-ranking members of either party to come under scrutiny in the wave of public-corruption probes that has swept Washington in the past three years. In the past year, two congressmen have been sent to prison, a third has been indicted for bribery, and at least a half-dozen others are under investigation in separate cases.
For a decade, former VECO Chief Executive Bill Allen has held fund-raisers for Mr. Young in Anchorage every August, known as "The Pig Roast," participants said. Public records show contributions to Mr. Young of at least $157,000 from VECO employees and its political-action committee between 1996 and 2006, the last year the event was held.

Perhaps it was the FBI Young was threatening when he warned, "those who bite me will be bitten back" during a debate over earmarks with fellow GOPer Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ). If it weren't for his long history of throwing public tantrums and issuing irrational threats, one might think Young's tirade was the result of increasing pressure from the G-Men.

The legal bills are mounting for both Stevens and Young as the investigations appear to multiplying and expanding with each passing week. The embattled lawmakers are being attacked from all sides. Democrats appear to be readying serious runs at both politicians. The conservative Club for Growth has recently released polls showing Alaskans are fed up with the pork delivered by Stevens & Young. A recent poll of Anchorage voters (it's important to note this was not a statewide sample) revealed 44% had an unfavorable opinion of Stevens. All of this dissatisfaction cannot be seen as good news for the GOP.

Once considered SAFE seats, the Republican corruption means the national party will be investing resources defending their home turf. No one is saying when (or if) indictments against the Republican lawmakers are expected. One thing observers can be relatively confident about is the tenacity of both Stevens & Young means neither are planning on leaving office before their terms end.

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