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Ethics Committee Clears Rep. Young Of Alleged Violations

By | December 20, 2011

The House Ethics Committee has cleared Congressman Don Young of violations, but it’s changing the rules to prevent the type of fundraising he did.

Young received a dozen donations of $5,000 each to his legal defense fund, which were all tied to the same Louisiana businessman. The donations came from 12 different companies owned by Gary Chouest and his family.

He runs Edison Chouest Offshore, a marine transportation company that has made sizeable campaign contributions in the past to both Young and Senator Lisa Murkowski.

If the $60,000 had come from a “single source,” it would have greatly exceeded the $5,000 limit on donations to legal defense funds.  But the Ethics Committee found that the companies are officially different entities, despite their ties.

The Committee said in a statement it’s concerned that the incident, while legal, “challenges the principals” of contribution limits.  So to prevent similar cases in the future, the Ethics Committee is changing the rules on Jan. 1.  Now the owner of a company will be tied to its contributions, rather than the company alone being responsible.

Young has not returned requests by APRN for comment.  He put out a written statement saying he is “pleased” that the Ethics Committee confirmed he did not violate House rules.

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