Politics & Government

Justice Department ends probe of Alaska's Rep. Don Young

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, announced Wednesday that federal prosecutors had ended their probe of his office.

Young had been one of the subject of the wide-ranging federal corruption probe into Alaska politics and also was under investigation for his role in an earmark in Florida as well as for ties to the lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Young sent out this statement Wednesday afternoon: "Congressman Young's legal team has been notified that after full cooperation from the Congressman, the Public Integrity Section of the Department of Justice has concluded their investigation and declined prosecution of Congressman Young."

Young had no additional comment. Young's lawyer, John Dowd, was unavailable for comment.

Since 2007, Young has paid more than $1.2 million to lawyers to fend off the investigation.

In late April 2008, the House of Representatives took the rare step of voting 358-51 to join a Senate call for a Justice Department investigation into the 2005 earmark, which shifted $10 million from a road-widening project in southwest Florida to a study of an interstate interchange that promised to benefit one of Young's campaign donors.

The Alaska Republican acknowledged in a speech on the House floor that he'd "been the subject of much innuendo." But he said that the earmark, part of a $286.4 billion highway bill he oversaw as chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, was never intended to benefit anyone in particular. The accusations about his role in it have "little if any connection with what actually occurred," Young said during his floor speech.

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