WASHINGTON -- U.S. Rep. Don Young spent about as much campaign money on lawyers helping him fend off a federal corruption probe as he raised for his re-election bid over the past three months, campaign finance filings show.
Young, Alaska's Republican congressman since 1973, spent $48,521 on his own defense attorney this quarter, plus paid $55,000 to a Seattle lawyer who is defending one of his campaign aides. That brings the total amount Young's campaign has spent on lawyers since the probe began in early 2007 to just over $1.2 million.
Meanwhile, Young raised $106,616 in campaign money over the past three months. Two of those seeking his seat, Republican Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell and Democrat Ethan Berkowitz, brought in more than twice that much. Berkowitz reports he now has a total of nearly $400,000 in campaign cash, almost as much as Young -- who in past elections had an account of over a million dollars.
The legal expenses continue to chip away at what remains of Young's campaign fund.
"Of course we're concerned, but we still have our nose to the grindstone and we're focusing on the campaign," said Young's campaign spokesman, Mike Anderson, who also serves as his chief of staff. "One thing Mr. Young knows how to do is how to campaign."
Anderson said he expects that next quarter, some of the legal expenses charged to the campaign account will shift to the legal expense fund Young set up this winter to help defray his legal costs. U.S. House rules prohibit Anderson from being actively involved in that fund, but he said Tuesday that he has been told that it is raising enough money to pick up the tab for some of Young's legal fees.
A report filed late Tuesday with the Federal Election Commission shows that Young continues to employ John Dowd of the Washington D.C. law firm Akin Gump. Dowd has been looking at documents in Young's office to determine what is privileged congressional information that they believe Young can withhold and what must be turned over to executive branch investigators.
Young continues to refuse to say exactly what his legal fees have been paying for, but the congressman is connected to several federal investigations. They include a wide-ranging federal probe into corruption in Alaska politics, which has focused on the fundraising practices of the former oil-services company Veco Corp.
Young's campaign also spent about $55,000 this quarter and $35,000 previously with John Wolfe, a Seattle lawyer who represents Steve Dougherty, one of the congressman's longtime campaign aides. Separately, the campaign paid the Washington D.C. law firm Tobin, O'Connor, Ewing and Richard $25,167 this quarter to review its campaign filings.
Young's $106,616 in reported campaign contributions the past three months came from a number of sources including Alaskans, congressional lobbyists and oil company BP.
Young faces two opponents in the August Republican primary. One of them, Parnell, raised $266,000 in the same period, his first full quarter as a candidate.
Much of Parnell's campaign money came through the national anti-earmark group, the Club for Growth. The group said it is also is launching anti-Young television ads in Alaska. The other Republican running, Gabrielle LeDoux, brought in just over $200,000 in the last three months; $157,500 of that was her own money.
Among the two candidates competing in the Democratic primary for the U.S. House seat, Berkowitz has raised far more campaign money than Diane Benson.
Benson reported raising $52,606 in the past three months, with donations from Alaskans as well as the Tohono O'Odham Nation and the Hualapi Tribe, both of Arizona.
Berkowitz -- who brought in over four times as much in the same period -- reported money from Alaska donors in addition to national money from sources such as unions, Planned Parenthood and congressional Democrats.