Former aide to Alaska Rep. Young tipped off FBI in probe

Anchorage Daily NewsNovember 18, 2010 

Federal prosecutors in Washington revealed this week that a former aide to Rep. Don Young provided substantial help to the FBI in criminal investigations of two congressmen, including one in which he secretly recorded a conversation at the request of agents.

The congressmen were identified only by letter, and their actual identities could not be determined. The FBI investigations of both representatives were closed without charges being brought, the Justice Department said.

The investigations of "Congressman A" and "Congressman B" focused on gifts of travel and paid expenses, in the case of "A" by super lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and "B" by other lobbyists.

Information about the aborted criminal investigations was contained in a motion filed by federal prosecutors in advance of the sentencing next week of Mark Zachares, who was special counsel to Don Young on the House Transportation Committee. The motion is seeking a reduced sentence for Zachares, who pleaded guilty in 2007 to a single count of fraud related to undisclosed gifts and travel he received from Abramoff and his cronies.

Zachares, a former Alaskan, had faced 18 to 24 months in prison under federal sentencing guidelines. But the Justice Department says he should get credit for "substantial assistance to the government in the investigation of other matters," reducing his potential sentence to 12 to 18 months.

Judges are not bound by the guidelines, and Zachares himself is seeking probation. Prosecutors acknowledged that Zachares' cooperation was "complete, forthcoming and truthful in every instance."

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