Delegation's Abramoff connections disturbing

Letter to the editor

Posted: Thursday, January 19, 2006

I think that all Alaskans should be concerned about the connections between Don Young, Ted Stevens and confessed felon lobbyist, Jack Ambramoff. The Lower 48 Indian tribes that Abramoff was milking gave Don Young $20,000, which he recently "returned." I note that Don readily had $20,000 on hand. Don in his role as committee chairman of the House Resources Committee, at Abramoff's behest, seems to have blocked legislation that, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, "would have put garment manufacturers in the Mariana Islands, notorious for running sweatshops - under federal labor laws."

When you buy something "Made in USA," it very well may have been made in the Marianas, circumventing U.S. law. The Anchorage Daily News reports that Young used Abramoff's MCI Center Skybox in Washington D.C. for fundraisers. Part of the way this damaging scam worked was the "revolving door" of staff for congressmen who left to work for Abramoff. Don Young's former chief of staff (and former Ted Stevens staffer) Duane R. Gibson quit working for them to go to work for Abramoff at the lobbying firm Greenberg Traurig. Ted Stevens received over $10,000 from Abramoff and the Lower 48 Natives he was representing.

Young and Stevens may have returned some or all of this money, but the funds and the perks, as well as the frightening possibility that the contributions may have influenced their official duties, should be disturbing to many Alaskans.

Richard Steele


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