Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 8, 2016

Don Young Broke House Rules, Ethics Committee Says

Don Young

Don Young is a Republican from Alaska. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Don Young, currently the fourth longest-serving House member, violated rules when he used campaign funds for personal purposes and accepted improper gifts, a House Ethics Committee report said in a letter of reproval Friday.

The report, which the Ethics Committee unanimously approved, comes after a years-long investigation by the Committee and the Department of Justice into allegations that Young, over the course of 12 years, improperly accepted free trips, lodging, meals, even a pair of $434 Le Chameau hunting boots.

“Representative Young also violated House Rules and other laws, rules, and standards of conduct by failing to report certain gifts on his Financial Disclosure Statements,” the report said.

The Committee said Young should repay the value of those improper gifts and trips — $59,063.74 — to the donors and his campaign.

“The Committee also finds that Representative Young should be reproved for his conduct with respect to his improper personal use of campaign funds, his acceptance of improper gifts, and his failure to report certain gifts on his Financial Disclosure Statements,” the report continued.

The report notes that “given the lengthy chronology of this matter” — instances of Young accepting improper gifts date back to December 2001 — an Investigative Subcommittee, which looked into the allegations for more than 14 months, could not determine if Young “purposefully or corruptly” accepted any gifts. From an earlier Roll Call: 

Federal investigators began examining Young’s finances after he helped direct $10 million to a Florida road project that benefited one of his campaign donors. Though Young was not ultimately charged in the case, the F.B.I. released documents that showed the Alaska lawmaker had used re-election funds for hunting trips, charter flights and other personal expenses, according to a New York Times report.

The Ethics Committee began investigating the matter in the 111th Congress.

“After approximately two years of delay caused in part by this Committee, as well as disputes with both Representative Young and DOJ regarding discovery of information in their possession, the Committee chose to move forward with its own investigation,” the report said.

While the report notes that they couldn’t determine Young’s intent with the gifts, it says Young’s “state of mind at the time he obtained the gifts did not impact whether he must repay the improper gifts and misused campaign funds.”

“He must,” the report said.

The sum that Young owes breaks down to $30,936.33 to his campaign and $28,127.41 to 10 individuals. Young racked up the bill between December 2001 and February 2013, well after he knew he was being investigated. The list of improper gifts includes: more than $30,000 in air travel costs, more than $12,000 for hunting expenses, and more than $6,000 for lodging and meals.

Beyond paying back his campaign and donors, the letter of reproval is meant as a public shaming of Young. There are no criminal fines or major repercussions for Young, despite the Ethics Committee finding a number of serious violations, but the letter of reproval is seen as a major rebuke by the House Ethics Committee.

  • Jack Everett

    The party of hypocrites are nothing but criminals stealing their way across the country. Lets see how fast the party of purity calls for this pigs resignation.

    • Kenneth J. Hicks

      They’ll call it a partisan witch hunt then scream “Benghazi!”

    • mabramso

      If the Democrats are not hypocrites as well, it is only because they don’t condemn such behavior. But they do the same thing.



  • A Semper Fi Marine

    OK – So he pays the money back – There is NO OTHER Ramification for his actions – BIG DEAL! A slight slap on the wrist and a “Bad Boy” statement but what else will they do? He STILL gets paid, he STILL gets his Plush Pension and based on the statement that “even after he knew he was being investigated” he continued to commit these acts, there is no doubt he will go on violating the rules. WHAT A JOKE!

    My Take

  • Doc Lakes

    Those who profess no limits to the actions which can be taken in the majority’s name are actively undermining morality, liberty, prosperity, and democratic processes.

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  • White Army

    One of the cases for the individualist conception is that its derived political systems minimize to “least harm” that which evil men can do.

  • Gloss Finnish

    Reinvigorating liberty is now critical so that centralization does not destroy the freedom that made most of our prior advance possible.

  • Pie Thon

    While democratic processes rely on majority opinion to decide certain group actions, such reliance does not imply that today’s majority view will also be tomorrow’s majority view.

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