On Friday, the U.S. House Committee on Ethics released its final report on the panel’s investigation into allegations that Rep. Don Young misused travel expenses and accepted gifts improperly.
The report follows years of various investigations into Young’s activities, all of which now are over. Ultimately the panel issued a letter of reproval for actions which “demonstrated a lack of appropriate safeguards and an inattention to the relevant standards of conduct.” It also said that Young did not act “corruptly” or in “bad faith.”
The panel ordered Young to pay $59,063 to his campaign fund and to various gift-givers, and to amend his financial disclosure reports, both of which he’s already done.
Young accepted the report and in a statement, said that there were “a number of instances where I failed to exercise due care in complying with the House’s Code of Conduct and for that I apologize.”
The letter signals the end to an investigation that has its roots in a federal corruption probe in Alaska that began in 2005. In 2010, Young was cleared of any wrongdoing by the feds, which passed the case on to the Ethics Committee. The committee then looked at trips and gift-giving that dated back to 2001.
Going back that far can get confusing, Young’s lawyer, John Dowd said, particularly because reporting rules constantly change.
“We should have done a better job, but it’s not easy to untangle” expenses, Dowd said. It got particularly confusing when Young was chair of the House Transportation Committee and traveled extensively.
Here’s Young’s statement in full:
I accept the House Committee on Ethics’ report and regret the oversights it has identified. There were a number of instances where I failed to exercise due care in complying with the House’s Code of Conduct and for that I apologize. As the Committee indicates in its report, I never “made any knowingly false statements to government officials” nor did I act “corruptly or in bad faith. I have made each of the payments recommended by the Committee and have taken significant steps since 2007 to strengthen my office’s polices for compliance with the Code of Conduct to ensure that these types of oversights do not happen again. It is through these actions that I show my colleagues and Alaskans that I fully respect the House Rules and will continue to comply with them now and in the future.
I am pleased that today’s decision represents the conclusion of an extended inquiry by both the Department of Justice and the House Committee on Ethics and I will continue to faithfully serve the people of Alaska.
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