by Rebecca Palsha
5:27 AM AKDT, August 5, 2010
U.S. Rep. Don Young’s opponents in the race for his seat want answers Thursday, after his office announced that the Department of Justice finished its investigation of Young and decided not to prosecute him.
Alaska politics are the ultimate game -- complete with tough questions before the primary.
“There’s just a whole lot we need to hear, and I'd like for Congressman Young to come clean with the people of Alaska,” said Young’s Democratic opponent, Harry Crawford.
“The facts haven't changed -- just because the Department of Justice has elected not to go forward with the prosecution, the facts haven't changed,” said Sheldon Fisher, Young’s opponent in the Republican primary. “He has, for the last four years he's been arguing that he can't make comments because of the pending investigation, so now those are no longer hanging over him. I think that Alaskans are interested and deserve to know what happened.”
After Wednesday’s one-sentence announcement from Young’s office, he attended Thursday’s Republican picnic at Kincaid Park. Would he finally talk about the corruption investigation?
“I've always had a policy, as you know, never to say anything. Talk to the Justice Department -- that’s the best way,” Young said. “Believe me, I’m going to be shaking hands and having a good time tonight, have fun, celebrate. It's a great day, it’s one of those things that you have to understand. You've not been there; I've been there; it’s a great day, so just leave me alone now.”
Young's opponents say he owes Alaskans answers. What exactly was the government investigating? Was it the $10 million Coconut Road earmark for a Florida road project added to a spending bill after it had passed both houses of Congress, apparently meant to benefit a Young supporter?
“Particularly in Coconut Road, there’s really two things,” Fisher said.
“First of all, why did Mr. Young propose these earmarks? The allegations are it was a quid pro quo for someone who made a $40,000 campaign contribution to him, and -- but then, secondly, it was the manner in which it was adopted, was unconstitutional.”
Young has previously said he wasn't able to talk about the case, and it looks like he still won't.
“The headlines are right there and if he can't read, shame on him,” Young said.
What are the headlines, a reporter asked?
“‘Case is dropped!’” Young said.
Fisher says he is filing a request for additional information under the Freedom of Information Act.
The primary election is Aug. 24.
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