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Michele Bachmann (R-MN)…………………………………...………………….1 Joe Barton (R-TX)……………………………………………...…………………2 Vern Buchanan (R-FL)……………………………………………………...…….4 Nathan Deal (R-GA)………………………………………………………...…….5 Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)…………………………………………………...7 Charles Rangel (D-NY)……………………………………………………...……8 Laura Richardson (D-CA)…………………………………………………...…….9 Pete Visclosky (D-IN)……………………………………………………………10 David Vitter (R-LA)………………………………………………………..…….11 Maxine Waters (D-CA)…………………………………...……………...………12 Joe Wilson (R-SC)…………………………………………..………………...…14 Don Young (R-AK)…………………………………………………...…………15
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN)
Rep. Michele Bachmann is a second-term member of Congress representing Minnesota’s 6th congressional district. In 2010, she was re-elected with 52% of the vote. Rep. Bachmann is notorious for claiming God told her to run for Congress. She also used her official congressional website to organize a rally against health care reform, and called for an investigation into the “anti-American” views of fellow members of Congress. Improper Rally In November 2009, CREW filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics, calling for an investigation into whether Rep. Bachmann violated House rules by using her official website to organize a rally opposing a health care reform bill on U.S. Capitol grounds. Rep. Bachmann also failed to obtain a proper permit for the demonstration. House rules restrict members from using their websites to engage in “grassroots lobbying” or to solicit support for a member’s position. Rep. Bachmann’s website urged people to come to the Capitol rally “and tell their Representatives to vote no” on the health care reform bill. McCarthy Politics On October 17, 2008, Rep. Bachmann appeared on MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Mathews,” where she accused Sen. Barack Obama of harboring anti-American views and associating with a terrorist. At one point in the interview, Rep. Bachmann seemed to equate liberalism with antiAmericanism. She prompted comparisons to Sen. Joe McCarthy when she called on the media to conduct a “penetrating exposé” to discover which members of Congress were “pro-America or anti-America.” A few days later, Rep. Bachmann partially recanted her remarks, claiming she had “made a big mistake” going on a show she had never seen and conceding she “should not have used” the phrase “anti-American.” Rep. Bachmann also denied making disparaging remarks about Sen. Obama and calling for a media-led inquisition into Congress’ alleged “anti-American” views. Yet at a fundraiser in March 2010, she said that her words had proven prophetic. “I said I had very serious concerns that Barack Obama had anti-American views,” Rep. Bachmann said. “And now I look like Nostradamus.”
Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX)
Rep. Joe Barton is a 13th-term member of Congress representing Texas’ 6th congressional district. In 2010, he was re-elected with 65% of the vote. Rep. Barton is notorious for apologizing to BP in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and used his position for his own financial benefit. He also used his charitable foundation to avoid lobbying disclosure requirements. BP Apology As oil gushed into the Gulf of Mexico, Rep. Barton apologized to BP CEO Tony Hayward for the government’s treatment of BP since the spill. “I’m ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday,” Rep. Barton said on June 17, 2010. “I apologize, I do not want to live in a country where any time a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong is subject to some sort of political pressure that is -- again, in my words, amounts to a shakedown. So I apologize.” Following public outrage over his remarks and threats by the Republican leadership to remove him from his position on the committee, Rep. Barton was forced to apologize for his apology. Business Deal In February 2010, The Dallas Morning News reported Rep. Barton earned almost $100,000 from an interest in natural gas wells purchased from businessman Walter Mize. Mr. Mize had contributed more than $33,000 to Rep. Barton’s campaigns over a 20-year period. Rep. Barton claimed he had made a “straight business deal” and that he reported it in accordance with federal law and ethics rules. But he listed EOG Resources Inc., a natural gas producer that operated and was majority owner of the wells, as the seller on his financial disclosure forms rather than Mr. Mize. Meanwhile, the natural gas interest meant Rep. Barton, the ranking Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, was positioned to benefit from increased production of domestic natural gas even as Congress weighed legislation that could have increased demand. The Barton Family Foundation Rep. Barton’s charitable foundation, the Joe Barton Family Foundation, solicited donations from corporations under the jurisdiction of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to fulfill the foundation’s pledges to two charities. In August 2005, the Barton Foundation pledged to donate between $200,000 and $300,000 to build a new facility for the local Boys and Girls Club. The foundation only donated $90,000 to the Boys and Girls Club between 2005 and 2006, despite raising $397,467 during that same two-year period. Instead, the foundation solicited companies to make contributions directly to the Boys and Girls Club in the foundation’s name, a move that sidestepped congressional lobbying disclosure requirements. Notably, a company that needed federal loan guarantees to build a nuclear power station project donated $25,000 to the Boys and Girls Club in the name of the Barton Foundation, even as Rep. Barton proposed legislation meant to create a bigger market for nuclear energy.
Similarly, in 2008, the Barton Foundation pledged to donate $500,000 to Meals on Wheels. While the foundation had only donated $55,000 to the charity as of December 31, 2009, it had solicited an additional $170,000 from outside donors, including $60,000 from three Texas energy companies.
Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL)
Rep. Vern Buchanan is a second-term member of Congress representing Florida’s 13th congressional district. In 2010, Rep. Buchanan was re-elected with 68% of the vote. Rep. Buchanan has been dogged by allegations of campaign finance violations. Rep. Buchanan appeared in CREW’s 2008 and 2009 reports on congressional corruption. Illegal Campaign Contributions A new allegation of conduit contributions to Rep. Buchanan’s campaign committee surfaced during his most recent term. In a deposition in a lawsuit, Terry Keith Howell, a registered Democrat, said he had been reimbursed for a donation he unwillingly made to Rep. Buchanan’s campaign in 2008. Mr. Howell said the $8,800 contribution he made to Rep. Buchanan and the $10,000 he gave to the Republican Party of Florida were reimbursed by his partners in a trucking company, including developer Timothy Mobley. Mr. Mobley, his family, and his employees were Rep. Buchanan’s largest group of donors. Mr. Howell was in bankruptcy when he made the contributions. Rep. Buchanan, who owns several car dealerships in Florida, has been repeatedly accused of raising improper campaign contributions. After he began his congressional campaign in 2005, he raised $110,000 from employees of his dealerships and their families over one seven-day period. Several employees later said Rep. Buchanan pressured them to make contributions to his campaign. The allegations by former employees of Rep. Buchanan’s car dealerships range from coercion to make campaign contributions for which they were later reimbursed to receiving awards, such as the use of Rep. Buchanan’s vacation house, in exchange for contributing to his campaign. Also, a former employee alleged Rep. Buchanan repeatedly used dealership cars for campaign purposes and that campaign materials were stored at the dealership. Rep. Buchanan was named a defendant in at least 13 lawsuits filed by former employees and at least one by a former business partner. The various suits charge that Rep. Buchanan and his dealerships engaged in malfeasance, committed fraud, and coerced campaign donations from employees. None of the suits have yet gone to trial. Rep. Buchanan has dismissed the lawsuits as politically motivated. In August 2008, CREW filed a complaint against Rep. Buchanan and his campaign committee with the Federal Elections Commission alleging serious violations of campaign finance law. The complaint remains unresolved.
Gov. Nathan Deal (R-GA)
In 2010, Nathan Deal won his first term as governor of Georgia. Earlier this year, he resigned from the House partway through his ninth term representing Georgia’s 9th congressional district. He won the gubernatorial race with 52.9% of the vote. Then-Rep. Deal used his position as a member of Congress to steer government money to his automobile salvage business, for which he was investigated by the Office of Congressional Ethics. Governor-elect Deal is currently under investigation by the Department of Justice and by the State Ethics Commission of Georgia. Rep. Deal appeared in CREW’s 2009 report on congressional corruption. Congressional Investigation Rep. Deal resigned from Congress on March 21, 2010, minutes before the House ethics committee was required to open an investigation into the congressman. On January 28, 2010, the OCE had referred its investigation into Rep. Deal to the ethics committee for potentially violating House rules. Upon receipt of the referral, the ethics committee then had 45 days to take action. Rep. Deal co-owns Recovery Services Inc., an auto salvage business that state inspectors used as a site for inspections necessary to certify vehicles that have been rebuilt after wreckage. Starting in 1990, Recovery Services obtained a no-bid contract, essentially a regional monopoly. In 2008, Georgia Revenue Commissioner Bart Graham suggested instead awarding the contracts through competitive bidding. Rep. Deal and his congressional chief of staff held three meetings with state officials, including the lieutenant governor, objecting to the change, which could have ended the deal that brought his company $1.5 million between 2004 and 2008. In the wake of the meetings, Mr. Graham decided instead to privatize the system. He proposed eliminating the program’s $1.7 million annual cost from the state budget, and the governor and state House both approved the cut. Around the same time, Rep. Deal’s chief of staff, Chris Riley, used his congressional e-mail account to contact state officials and ask them to keep money for the inspection program. In the end, Rep. Deal prevailed, and the Georgia Senate restored the money to the budget. The OCE found reason to believe Rep. Deal violated House and federal government ethics rules by using his office to protect a state program that earned his company a lucrative profit. Additionally, Rep. Deal violated House rules when he omitted his role as a corporate officer of Recovery Services from his financial disclosure forms. Further, the $75,000 in annual income that Rep. Deal earned in 2008 for serving as a corporate officer for the company violated congressional rules limiting outside compensation. State Investigation After leaving Congress, more details about Rep. Deal’s precarious financial situation emerged. He has more than $5 million of outstanding debt, and is selling his home in an attempt to ward off foreclosure and bankruptcy. The State Ethics Commission of Georgia is investigating Governor-elect Deal for spending over $19,000 in his gubernatorial campaign funds to pay for
legal fees related to his congressional ethics case. Another complaint filed with the State Ethics Commission called for an investigation into his failure to disclose more than $2.8 million in loans on his personal financial disclosure forms and for spending more than $135,000 in campaign funds for airplane and helicopter flights through North Georgia Aviation, a company Governor-elect Deal co-owns. North Georgia Aviation does not own a plane or helicopter, but leases them from two companies registered to the home address of his gubernatorial campaign manager and former congressional chief of staff, Chris Riley. Previously, Rep. Deal’s congressional office had paid more than $300,000 in flight expenses to Chattahoochee Logistics LLC, from 2002 to 2008 (the company later refunded $80,000). The company was founded by Mr. Riley, and is now owned by his wife. Mr. Riley said he didn’t report any income from the company on his personal financial disclosures because he didn’t receive any, and because he and his wife did not profit from providing Rep. Deal’s flights. Governor-elect Deal has since amended his forms to reflect the $2.8 million in loans, and contends he paid fair market value for the flights.
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson is a ninth-term member of Congress representing Texas’ 30th congressional district. In 2010, she was re-elected with 76% of the vote. Rep. Johnson inappropriately awarded Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) scholarships to relatives and to children of aides, in violation of CBCF rules. CBC Scholarships Rep. Johnson awarded at least 23 CBCF scholarships worth more than $31,000 to two of her grandsons, two of her great-nephews, and the children of her top congressional aide in Dallas over a five-year period, violating CBCF rules. Despite previously serving on the CBCF’s board, Rep. Johnson claims she “unknowingly” violated the scholarship rules. Rep. Johnson also claimed there were not enough “very worthy” students in her district who qualified for the scholarship, which required students to have a 2.5-grade-point average. The CBCF has explicit anti-nepotism rules prohibiting family members from receiving scholarships. Additionally, all of these awards violated the CBCF’s residency requirement, which requires scholarship winners to live or study in a caucus member's district to be eligible for the scholarships. Further, despite CBCF rules mandating that scholarship money be paid only to the institution of attendance, Rep. Johnson sent letters to the CBCF on her official letterhead asking the foundation to directly give the scholarship money to her two grandsons and two great-nephews, rather than to their colleges. In October 2010, Rep. Johnson repaid the scholarship money.
Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-NY)
Rep. Charles Rangel is a 20th-term member of Congress representing New York’s 15th congressional district. In 2010, he was re-elected with 79.9% of the vote. On November 16, 2010, a House ethics adjudicatory subcommittee found Rep. Rangel guilty of 11 ethics charges. On December 2, 2010, the House voted 333 to 79 to censure Rep. Rangel, making him the first member of the House to be censured in 27 years. Rep. Rangel improperly leased rent-controlled apartments, inappropriately used congressional stationary, failed to disclose rental income on his personal financial disclosure forms, and promoted a tax break for a company from which he solicited charitable contributions. Rep. Rangel appeared in CREW’s 2008 and 2009 reports on congressional corruption. House Ethics Charges The House ethics committee admonished Rep. Rangel in February 2010, for violating Congressional gift rules by accepting corporate-sponsored trips to the Caribbean in 2007 and 2008. In a separate matter, a House ethics investigative subcommittee began considering 13 charges against Rep. Rangel in June 2010, and an adjudicatory subcommittee found him guilty of 11 charges on November 16. Among other things, the committee concluded that Rep. Rangel violated the letter and spirit of House rules and engaged in conduct reflecting discreditably on the House. The 11 charges stemmed from the following actions: Improper Rental Arrangements Rep. Rangel rents three rent-stabilized apartments at Lennox Terrace in New York City. In addition, his campaign committee and political action committee jointly rented another rentstabilized apartment in the same building for office use. The House subcommittee found that the landlord tolerated the apartment’s use as an office even though such use violated the terms of the lease and the New York City zoning regulations and building code. The subcommittee found this constituted a favor or benefit to Rep. Rangel in violation of the Code of Ethics for Government Service. Violations of Tax Laws and Financial Disclosure Requirements In addition, Rep. Rangel violated tax laws, the Ethics in Government Act, and House rules by failing to pay more than $60,000 in taxes on rental income from his beachfront Dominican villa and for not correctly reporting income from the villa on his financial disclosure reports. Improper Soliciting for Charles B. Rangel Center Rep. Rangel violated House rules by using official congressional stationary to solicit contributions for the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at the City College of New York. Further, by requesting donations for the center from individuals or entities with business before the House Committee on Ways and Means, he violated House rules prohibiting members from soliciting anything of value from those with interests before them.
Rep. Laura Richardson (D-CA)
Rep. Laura Richardson is a second-term member of Congress representing California’s 37th congressional district. In 2010, she was re-elected with 68% of the vote. Shortly after the election, the House ethics committee launched a new inquiry into whether Rep. Richardson violated the Hatch Act by forcing her staff to volunteer for her campaign. She allegedly accepted favorable loans and failed to properly report a loan on her financial disclosure statements. Rep. Richardson appeared in CREW’s 2008 and 2009 reports on congressional corruption. Forced Volunteers Newspaper reports indicate that Rep. Richardson staffers have been contacted by the House ethics committee regarding whether they were forced to volunteer for her most recent campaign. The committee has not commented on the reports. Home Foreclosure Earlier this year, the ethics committee cleared Richardson of wrongdoing after a months-long investigation into the circumstances surrounding her home loans. In May 2008, Rep. Richardson’s Sacramento home had been sold into foreclosure. Rep. Richardson claimed the foreclosure had happened without her knowledge, and was contrary to an agreement with her lender, Washington Mutual. Rep. Richardson failed to make mortgage payments on the property for nearly a year, and had defaulted on two other home loans as well. In total, Rep. Richardson has defaulted on three properties she owns in Long Beach, San Pedro and Sacramento in at least eight different instances. She was delinquent in paying approximately $9,000 in property taxes on the Sacramento residence. In June and July 2007, even as Rep. Richardson was missing payments and failing to pay her taxes, she loaned $77,500 to her campaign. Rep. Richardson also omitted the mortgage on her Sacramento home on her 2007 personal financial disclosure statements. Washington Mutual later rescinded the foreclosure sale and returned the house to Rep. Richardson. The buyer sued, and Washington Mutual settled. The Office of Congressional Ethics investigated whether Rep. Richardson had received preferential treatment from Washington Mutual because of her status as a member of Congress, and whether she had failed to include all required information on her financial disclosure form. The OCE later referred the matter to the ethics committee, which found no wrongdoing.
Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-IN)
Rep. Pete Visclosky is a 13th-term member of Congress representing Indiana’s 1st congressional district. In 2010, he was re-elected with 58% of the vote. Rep. Visclosky allegedly traded earmarks to clients of the PMA Group for campaign contributions and is under investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ). Rep. Visclosky appeared in CREW’s 2009 report on congressional corruption. The PMA Group The PMA Group was a lobbying firm with close ties to Rep. Visclosky. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Rep. Visclosky was the second highest recipient of donations from PMA Group lobbyists and clients from 1998 through 2008, receiving a total of $1,369,298. In 2008, the PMA Group was Rep. Visclosky’s biggest campaign contributor. The lawmaker gave PMA Group clients millions of dollars in earmarks: at least $23 million in fiscal year 2008 and at least $10 million in fiscal year 2009. The FBI raided the offices of the PMA Group and the home of its founder, Paul Magliocchetti, in November 2008. After news of the raid broke, PMA Group ceased operations. The raid resulted in a federal criminal investigation, and Rep. Visclosky was subpoenaed by a federal grand jury looking into the case. On September 24, 2010, Mr. Magliocchetti pleaded guilty to channeling more than $386,000 in illegal campaign contributions. The Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) investigated Rep. Visclosky’s ties to PMA Group, and referred the matter to the House ethics committee. The ethics committee dismissed the case on February 26, 2010. In response to the ethics committee dismissal, on May 27, 2010, the OCE referred the matter to DOJ, and that investigation is ongoing.
Senator David Vitter (R-LA)
Sen. David Vitter is a first-term member of the Senate. In 2010, he was re-elected with 56.6% of the vote. Sen. Vitter solicited prostitutes, retained a staff member with a women’s issues portfolio even after the staffer brutally assaulted his girlfriend, and used public money to pay the staffer’s travel expenses for court dates. Sen. Vitter appeared in CREW’s 2007 report on congressional corruption. Soliciting Prostitution In July 2007, Sen. Vitter’s telephone number appeared on a list of client telephone numbers released by Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the so-called “D.C. Madam.” Sen. Vitter confirmed the link to Palfrey, saying in a statement, “this was a very serious sin in my past for which I am, of course, completely responsible.” Others have also alleged that Sen. Vitter sought out prostitutes. According to Jeanette Maier, the “Canal Street Madam,” Sen. Vitter visited a New Orleans brothel several times in the mid-1990s. Another woman, who worked as a prostitute in New Orleans under the name of Wendy Cortez, has claimed Sen. Vitter was at one time a regular client. Domestic Violence In June 2010, CREW revealed Brent Furer, a Vitter staff member responsible for women’s issues, had been arrested for attacking his ex-girlfriend with a knife in 2008. He was also accused of holding her against her will and threatening to kill her. In addition, he had been arrested at least four other times, three for drunk driving and once for cocaine possession. Mr. Furer remained on the senator’s staff, resigning only after news of his criminal record surfaced publicly. Sen. Vitter's spokesperson claimed Mr. Furer was "significantly disciplined" for attacking his girlfriend, including a three-month suspension. Senate financial records show he was paid for all but five days during that period. In addition, Mr. Furer’s two trips to court over a 2004 arrest for driving while intoxicated were billed to Sen. Vitter’s congressional office, at taxpayers’ expense. Mr. Furer flew to Louisiana in 2007 to appear in court on the DWI charge, and again in 2008 to sign his probation agreement.
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA)
Rep. Maxine Waters is a 10th-term member of Congress representing California’s 35th congressional district. In 2010, she was re-elected with 79% of the vote. Rep. Waters was charged with three counts of violating House rules. She was scheduled to face an ethics trial on November 29, but the ethics committee has postponed the trial following the discovery of new evidence. The charges stem from her efforts to intervene with Treasury Department officials on behalf of OneUnited Bank, where her husband previously served on the board and where he owns stock. She appeared in CREW’s 2005, 2006 and 2009 reports on congressional corruption. OneUnited Bank The OCE began an investigation into Rep. Waters after media reports highlighted the congresswoman’s assistance of a bank to which she had financial ties. On August 6, 2009, the OCE referred its investigation into Rep. Waters to the House ethics committee. On August 9, 2010, the ethics committee publicly charged Rep. Waters with three counts of violating House rules and federal ethics regulations: failing to behave in a way that reflects creditably on the House, breaking the spirit of House rules by using her position for financial gain, and dispensing special favors in violation of the Code of Ethics for Government Service. The ethics committee initially scheduled the trial to begin on November 29, but has since postponed it. According to the Statement of Alleged Violations issued by the ethics committee, Rep. Water’s husband, Sidney Williams, had been a member of OneUnited’s board of directors from January 23, 2004 until April 21, 2008. In addition, Mr. Williams owned 3,500 shares of OneUnited preferred stock and 476 of the bank’s common stock, the value of which was approximately $350,000 in June 2008. If OneUnited failed, the stock would have been worthless. On or about September 8, 2008, Rep. Waters asked then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to hold a meeting to discuss losses suffered by minority-owned banks after the government placed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into conservatorship. The subsequent September 9th session included several senior Treasury officials and representatives of a single bank: OneUnited. One attendee, Robert Cooper, the bank’s general counsel, was also then the incoming chair of the National Bankers Association, which represents minority-owned banks. No other representatives of the association or its other member banks attended the meeting. Kevin Cohee, chief executive officer of OneUnited, used the meeting as an opportunity to request a bailout for the bank, which surprised Treasury Department officials. At the time, the department lacked the legislative authority to bail out the bank. Also in early September 2008, Rep. Waters spoke to Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), who advised her to stay out of matters related to OneUnited because of her husband’s ties to the bank. Nevertheless, despite Rep. Frank’s advice, Rep. Waters’ chief of staff and grandson, Mikael Moore, continued to actively assist OneUnited representatives in their quest to receive capital from the Treasury Department. Ultimately, following the establishment of the Troubled Asset Relief Program on October 2, 2008, OneUnited received $12 million, effectively saving the bank and, therefore, Mr. Williams’ investment.
By failing to instruct Mr. Moore to stop assisting OneUnited once she became aware that her husband’s financial interest meant she should not have been involved in aiding the bank, Rep. Waters violated House ethics rules.
Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC)
Rep. Joe Wilson is a fifth-term member of Congress representing South Carolina’s 2nd congressional district. In 2010, he was re-elected with 53.5% of the vote. The race was South Carolina’s most expensive congressional race to date. Rep. Wilson is notorious for yelling “You lie!” at President Barack Obama during his health care address to Congress in 2009. He is under investigation by congressional ethics committees for misspending his government per diem while abroad and taking a large number of international trips. Misspending taxpayer funds Rep. Wilson has admitted to misspending taxpayer funds while traveling abroad. Per diem, a daily allowance given to government employees while traveling, is to be used only for meals, cabs and other travel-related expenses. Congressional rules also require members to return leftover cash to the government. Rep. Wilson told The Wall Street Journal he used his remaining per diem to purchase marble goblets in Kabul for constituents. The Office of Congressional Ethics began investigating Rep. Wilson and other lawmakers in the per diem matter and referred it to the House ethics committee last summer. The House ethics committee is now investigating Rep. Wilson’s misuse of his per diem and the large number of foreign trips he has taken over the past eight years. A spokeswoman for Rep. Wilson defended him, saying, “Focusing on personal purchases under $2 while over 14 million Americans are out of work does not reflect the priorities of the American people."
Rep. Don Young (R-AK)
Rep. Don Young is a 19th-term member of Congress representing Alaska at-large. In 2010, he was re-elected with 69% of the vote. Federal investigators have looked into Rep. Young in four different cases. Those investigations include his role in securing a $10 million earmark for the Coconut Road interchange in Florida, assistance he offered to convicted VECO executive Bill Allen, his ties to convicted former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and his financial relationship with convicted businessman Dennis Troha. All investigations into Rep. Young were closed without action. Rep. Young appeared in CREW’s 2007, 2008 and 2009 reports on congressional corruption. Coconut Road The Department of Justice investigated whether Rep. Young earmarked $10 million dollars for a construction project in exchange for campaign donations, and whether he or his staff changed the language of the provision after the bill had passed. In 2005, Rep. Young attended a fundraiser hosted by Daniel Aronoff, a land developer who stood to gain financially from the expansion of Interstate 75. The fundraiser brought in $40,000 for Rep. Young, and Mr. Aronoff personally donated a total of $3,000 to Rep. Young’s campaign committee and PAC. Shortly after his Florida trip, Rep. Young, then chairman of the House transportation committee, earmarked $10 million for a Coconut Road interchange in the Fiscal Year 2006 transportation bill. The Lee County Metropolitan Planning Organization voted twice to block studies on the interchange after the Army Corps of Engineers, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Federal Highway Administration found the project could threaten nearby wetlands. In response, Rep. Young threatened to revoke the money unless it was used to build the interchange. In 2008, both the House and Senate voted to direct the DOJ to launch an investigation into the earmark. Rep. Young admitted that he sponsored the earmark and that his staff “corrected” the earmark before the bill went to the White House to be signed by the president. In August 2010. Rep. Young announced the DOJ had dropped the investigation into the Coconut Road earmark. VECO Corporation At the same time, Rep. Young also announced the DOJ had closed an investigation into his relationship with the now-defunct oil field services company VECO Corp. and two of its executives. Rep. Young had been the subject of a criminal inquiry into whether he accepted bribes, illegal gratuities or unreported gifts from VECO. In court papers, one of the executives, Bill Allen, admitted he and fellow VECO executive Rick Smith gave gifts to “United States Representative A,” described as Alaska’s representative in the House. Rep. Young is the state’s only House member. Mr. Allen also said the company illegally donated between $130,000 and $195,000 to Rep. Young’s campaign between 1993 and 2006, paying for his annual pig-roast fundraisers. In May 2007, both Mr. Allen and Mr. Smith pleaded guilty to conspiracy, bribery and tax violations. Mr. Allen was sentenced to three years in federal prison and Mr. Smith to 21 months in federal prison.