Alaska Politics Blog

This is the place to talk about Alaska politics, state, local, national. Public life in the Last Frontier has rarely been more interesting -- a full slate of federal and state elections, the influence of former Gov. Sarah Palin, the usual hardball Alaska politics. Come here for news, tidbits and information, and join the discussion. We encourage lively debate, but please keep it civil and stay on point. Don't use profanity, make crude comments or attack other posters. Posts that violate the Terms of Use will be deleted. Repeat offenders will lose their ability to post comments.

New Senate organization announced - 11/7/2012 12:48 pm

Homer Revealed - 8/22/2012 2:08 pm

Seven-day countdown - 5/25/2012 8:37 pm

Anchorage city clerk resigns (UPDATED) - 5/23/2012 10:51 am

Gara to seek re-election - 5/2/2012 2:04 pm

For one lawmaker: Good news - 4/27/2012 12:20 pm

Anticipation in the Capitol - 4/26/2012 11:38 am

Election Commission finds 1/2 of precincts ran out of ballots; recommends no investigation - 4/25/2012 5:08 pm

Don Young channels more money to lawyers

From Erika Bolstad in Washington, D.C.:

Rep. Don Young’s most recent campaign finance report shows that he continues to pay his sizable legal bills using his campaign account.

Young’s most recent filing with the Federal Election Commission shows that the Alaska Republican spent $20,000 last quarter with the Seattle law firm Siderius, Lonergan and Martin. It’s not clear whether those bills were for campaign-related expenses or connected to an ongoing federal criminal probe. Young’s campaign spokesman didn’t return a phone call seeking comment.

Earlier this year, Young’s campaign paid $90,020 to John Wolfe, a Seattle attorney who represented Young’s campaign manager, Steve Dougherty, in the investigation.

Since the beginning of 2007, Young has spent more than $1 million in campaign contributions on legal fees related to a Justice Department probe — which includes an investigation into fundraising.

Federal Election Commission guidelines allow public officials to spend their campaign money on attorneys, as long as the legal work is connected to the lawmaker’s role as an officeholder. But Young also set up a separate legal expense fund to pay some legal bills; so far, that fund has raised $77,000 and spent $48,000 on Young’s legal bills.

In a debate during the campaign, Young said that his legal defense has been expensive, and that he has used campaign money because he doesn’t have his own money to spend defending the inquiry. He has consistently refused to detail the exact nature of the investigation, but Congress has called on the Justice Department to investigate an earmark in Florida that stood to benefit a campaign contributor.

Young also has been tied to a federal probe into corruption in Alaska politics, which included the fundraising practices of the former oil-services company Veco Corp. and Bill Allen, its chief executive. Allen was the star witness in the October trial of Sen. Ted Stevens, who was found guilty on seven counts of failing to disclose gifts on his U.S. Senate financial disclosure forms.

Young’s new report also shows that overall he raised $1.1 million in his successful bid to fend off opponents in August’s primary and last month’s general election. He spent $3.1 million, which included money he had amassed in previous election cycles. More than $1 million went toward his legal bills.

The reports show that his Democratic challenger last month, Ethan Berkowitz, spent all but $17,194 of the $1.6 million he raised for the campaign.

© Copyright 2011, The Anchorage Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION
Anchorage Daily News is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service