Don Young finally pays the bill for seven years of crab dinners during fundraisers

Posted: Wednesday, August 08, 2007

ANCHORAGE - U.S. Rep. Don Young has agreed to pick up the tab for seven years worth of crab dinners after it became clear that the contributions needed to be disclosed, his campaign treasurer said.

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The $5,583 tab was first paid for by the Pacific Seafood Processors Association, but Young's campaign treasurer, Robert Bohnert, said the campaign wasn't aware of the contributions until receiving an e-mail from the association this spring.

The e-mail informed Young's campaign that the association had researched its records and discovered it had made the in-kind contributions, which are required to be disclosed.

Young's campaign first intended to reimburse the group only for the 2004 to 2006 contributions, but made the decision last week to reimburse the full amount it cost to host the "Crab Feeds," which date back to 2001. That brought the tab up by $3,175, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

Bohnert said the group generally contributed between $700 and $900 in seafood for the event each year.

He directed questions about why Young or his lawyers decided to reimburse the full amount to Young's campaign manager, Steven Dougherty.

"We're not commenting at this time," Dougherty said. "We're not commenting on issues pertaining to this topic."

The campaign typically hires someone to organize the event - a Washington tradition for Alaska's Republican congressman - and that third party orders the food and rents the Capitol Hill Club. That's why the campaign wasn't aware of the contributions, Bohnert said.

"If we don't know about it, we can't do anything about," Bohnert said. "I don't know what prompted them to send it to us."

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