House ethics committee fines Don Young


Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) greets supporters Nov. 2, 2010, in Anchorage after winning a 20th term to Congress. (James Mason/AP)

The House Ethics Committee ordered Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) to pay a nearly $60,000 fine for taking 15 inappropriate trips, using campaign funds for personal use and accepting other unethical gifts.

Young — who has battled a series of federal investigations and ethics panel probes for seven years — was hit with a "letter of reproval" rebuking him for the misconduct.

The ethics committee examined 25 trips that Young, his family and staff took to hunting lodges between 2001 and 2013, determining that 15 were inappropriate. The focus of the trips came during a four-year period — 2003 to 2007 — that was also the focus of a sprawling FBI investigation into inappropriate ties to an Alaska energy firm and the state's top elected officials.

Young must repay the money with personal funds to his campaign and to those that gave him the hunting trips and other gifts.

A former chairman of two House committees, Young is the chamber's longest-serving Republican. He won a special election in 1973 to fill the seat of the late Nick Begich, who died in a plane crash just before the 1972 election. Democrats have run one tough race against Young, in 2008, when Begich's son, Mark, won at the top of the ticket in the marquee Senate race, but Young hung onto his seat despite the lingering investigations.

He has won reelection comfortably ever since.

Paul Kane covers Congress and politics for the Washington Post.
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