"Don Young’s ‘A Team’ Of Lobbyists: ‘These People Can Talk To Whomever They Want’"
Taxpayers for Common Sense has obtained a 2007 “survival guide” for interns in Rep. Don Young’s (R-AK) office. Interns are warned that Young’s wife does “not like Cologne” and the congressman “[e]xpects you to open doors for him.”
But one of the most troubling parts of the memo concerns the office’s close relationship with lobbyists. According to the memo, Young has an “A Team” of lobbyists who “can talk to whomever they want” — most often, chief of staff Mike Anderson or former executive assistant Sara Parsons. From the memo:
A look at some of these lobbyists:
Rick Alcade: In April, the House voted overwhelmingly to request a federal criminal investigation into a controversial 2005 earmark by Young, which “shifted $10 million from a road widening project in southwest Florida to a study of an interchange that promised to benefit one of Young’s campaign donors,” Daniel Aronoff. Around this time, Young collected $40,000 in contributions from a variety of interests tied to Aronoff, including Alcade, who “worked on behalf of Aronoff’s real estate firm, the Landon Companies.” In 2005, Alcade received $80,000 to specifically lobby Young on the highway bill.
CJ Zane and Duncan Smith: In 2006, Young inserted into a bill a provision giving three fishing companies exclusive rights in the Bering Sea. One of the companies, Yardam Knot, is headed by Al Chaffee, a contributor to Young. Yardarm Knot not only contributed to Young, but also “paid a total of $100,000 to two law firms for lobbying,” one of which is “Blank Rome, which counts former Young chief of staff C.J. Zane and former Young aide Duncan Smith as principals.”
Jack Ferguson: Ferguson was once treasurer of Young’s leadership fund, the Midnight Sun Political Action Committee, which took in $400,000 in the 2004 election cycle. Ferguson was allegedly removed because it was “frowned upon to have lobbyists so openly rounding up the checks for the people they lobby,” but his replacement listed her address as the address of “Jack Ferguson Associates.”
Randy DeLay is also the brother of disgraced former congressman Tom DeLay, and donated $3,000 to Young’s PAC in 2007.
Young’s staff has tried to dismiss this memo, saying it was “pieced together by several former interns and not by staff,” and “in no way reflects the official policies of Rep. Young’s office.” TPMmuckraker reports, however, that the guide was “distributed by a paid member of Young’s staff.” The nonpartisan watchdog group CREW has listed Young as one of the 22 most corrupt members of Congress.