JUNEAU — Alaska’s lone U.S. House member said Thursday that he’s not concerned about a new ethics investigation into him.
Rep. Don Young told reporters in Juneau that the U.S. House Ethics Committee is looking into matters that he said the FBI has already found him “totally innocent of.” The committee last week announced it was forming a special panel to investigate whether the Republican failed to report gifts on his annual disclosure forms, misused campaign funds and lied to federal officials.
The committee said a separate panel would look at whether Rep. Rob Andrews, D-N.J., broke House rules by using campaign funds for personal travel.
Documents released by the FBI last year showed that someone told investigators Young and his wife spent campaign money on hunting trips and flights and wrote checks to themselves on his contributors’ dime. The matter was dropped in 2010.
Young said he has cooperated with the committee, which he said has a different standard than the FBI. He suggested the committee needs a Republican and a Democrat to investigate at the same time.
“I’m confident where I am. I always have been,” he said. “If I wasn’t that confident, I couldn’t continue to run and look Alaskans in the eye.”
Asked whether there was a timeline for the investigation, he said if he had any predictions, “it will go forever.”
“I’ve been under a cloud all my life,” he said. “I’m sort of like living in Juneau. It rains on you all the time. You don’t even notice it.”
Young has represented Alaska in Congress for 40 years and announced plans to run for re-election next year. He said he doesn’t know of anyone who could do his job better than he does.
Young is in Alaska during a congressional break and took part Thursday in a Choose Respect rally in Juneau. Similar events were planned in communities around the state — led by members of the Parnell administration — to raise awareness of the scourge of domestic violence and sexual assault in the state.
Young’s admonition: “Watch the alcohol and the drugs,” which he said are often tied to the violence.
He said he would suggest that people who drink together stop it, but said if Alaskans want to drink alone, they can.