JUNEAU — An attorney for Alaska’s lone congressman on Monday demanded that a watchdog group correct what he calls “false and misleading” statements suggesting Rep. Don Young is under investigation.
Attorney John Dowd, in a letter to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, said any suggestion that Young is under investigation is false.
Melanie Sloan, CREW’s executive director, said in an interview that the group stands behind its statements.
CREW submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for documents related to the federal government’s investigation of Young. Young announced in 2010 that he was no longer under investigation but provided no details.
A court allowed for the release of the documents, and on Friday, CREW issued a press release announcing that the FBI had released documents from its investigation of Young.
“The FBI withheld some documents claiming they relate to an ongoing law enforcement investigation,” the release states. “This suggests Rep. Young is the subject of a current criminal inquiry, which has not been reported previously.”
Dowd, in his letter, said suggesting that Young is under investigation because the FBI withheld documents demonstrates the group’s “naivet√© regarding federal investigations.”
Dowd said neither he nor the group has knowledge of whether the FBI is investigating someone other than Young using a witness or document found in the file of the “now-closed” investigation of Young.
He also said the group acted irresponsibly in failing to inform the public that the judge had cited Young’s public acknowledgment of the end of the investigation as a reason for granting the release of records.
Sloan, in a written response to Dowd, took issue with the characterization that CREW acted irresponsibly, saying CREW’s records request brought to light allegations that Young and his late wife had “misused campaign funds for personal expenditures.”
The allegations were not enough to convince the FBI that Young could be convicted, and the matter was dropped in 2010.
She also said that Dowd’s “focus” of the Justice Department’s one-time investigation of Coconut Road, an earmark to widen a Florida highway, “appears designed to obscure any other matter related to Rep. Young that has been the subject of either past or present investigations.”
Young’s spokesman said Young, who is seeking his 21st term in Congress, is not under investigation for anything.