Alaska's Young no longer paying lawyers from campaign fund

WASHINGTON — Rep. Don Young is no longer paying lawyers with his campaign account, federal disclosure forms show, and the Alaska Republican actually got a refund from one attorney who was representing a campaign employee.

A report filed Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission shows that Young raised $72,180 in the first three months of the year for his campaign. He also got $30,573 back from attorney John Wolfe. The Seattle lawyer had been representing Young's former campaign manager, Steve Dougherty, as part of a federal investigation into fundraising practices in Alaska politics.

The refund came from a retainer the campaign had paid Wolfe, said Young's chief of staff, Pamela Day. She said she didn't know whether that meant Wolfe's services were no longer needed. Dougherty left the campaign after the November election.

Last year, Young's campaign paid Wolfe $90,020, according to federal filings. Wolfe said Wednesday he was "not in the position to talk about legal fees" and would not discuss why he refunded money to the campaign.

Young set up a legal expense fund last year to help pay for lawyers connected to an FBI probe of his office. The fund was established so that his campaign cash wouldn't have to go toward lawyers, but also so that he could tap a new source of donors, including people who had already given to his campaign. In recent months, Young has been paying his legal bills from the legal expense fund.

Last year, Young raised $1.1 million in his successful bid to fend off opponents in the August primary and the November general election. Over the election cycle, he spent $3.1 million, including money he had amassed in previous years. More than $1 million went toward his legal bills.

Young has had three fundraisers this spring: a Puerto Rico event in February, one in Washington this spring and a third in Anchorage this week.

The Puerto Rico fundraiser appears to have netted the congressman about $17,450, according to an analysis of donors with addresses on the island or in Miami. He currently has $120,674 cash on hand.