Ethics Committee Closes Loophole Don Young Exploited

Rep. Don Young (R-AK) didn’t break any rules when he accepted $60,000 — far over the $5,000 limit — in donations to his legal fund from entities that were controlled by the same family, the House Ethics Committee found this week. But they’re making sure that other members can’t exploit the same loophole in the future.

Young, according to the House Ethics Committee’s report, received the donations in an envelope from fishing buddy Gary Chouest, who is president of a marine transportation company.“When it comes to campaign finance law, that’s clearly a violation,” Public Citizen’s Craig Holman told TPM. “It’s well established as a violation of that type of rule.”

The House Ethics report makes it clear that donations to legal funds from entities controlled by one individual will be counted together in the future, even though they cleared Young of any violations.

“It’s nice to have this Ethics Committee go halfway for a change. The House Ethics Committee really just usually tries to protect members and staff,” Colman said.

The donations to Young came in the first quarter of 2011. His office said in August 2010 that the Justice Department had cleared him of any charges in their Alaska corruption probe.