Government Spending

Don Young's Obscene Gesture


In January I expressed my skepticism about the House's earmark reforms, noting that they "rely mainly on greater openness to shame legislators into better fiscal behavior, and when it comes to pork legislators have no shame." But here's an earmark that should embarrass even Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), he of the Bridge to Nowhere: Young, then chairman of the House Transportation Committee, slipped $10 million into a 2006 appropriations bill for road improvements that would benefit a developer who had just raised $40,000 for the congressman. The kicker is that the road is located in Florida, where, as The New York Times dryly notes, Young "has no constituents." Neither local officials nor the district's congressman, Republican Connie Mack, requested the money. When the local planning commission objected to the project, the Times reports, Young "warned that his committee would draft another bill taking away the $10 million if it was not used for the interchange."

Bringing home pork for your constituents may be a point of pride, but what about sending pork to another state for the benefit of a campaign contributor? There are signs that Young is at least a little bit ashamed of that. "When he was approached near the House floor by a reporter," according to the Times, "Mr. Young responded with an obscene gesture."

NEXT: Witness to Power, or One More Reason To Hate LBJ (LeBron James Edition)

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Hey Reporter, you’re numnber one!

  2. You can no more embarrass a senator than you can a sofa.

  3. Don Young is an obscene gesture.

  4. Un-freaking-believable.

  5. Don Young is not a senator, Mr. Will…but you’re still correct.

  6. Was the obscene gesture directed at the reporter? Or was the reporter merely the messenger for the taxpaying public at large?

  7. Jeezus tapdancing christ, these guys sound like one-dimensional “looter” villains from a particularly bad Ayn Rand novel.

  8. “Bringing home pork for your constituents may be a point of pride, but what about sending pork to another state for the benefit of a campaign contributor?”

    What you mean Senator Hollywood Howard Heflin didn’t know that there wasn’t a movie and music industry in Alabama all those years that he was shilling for Hollywood? The Congress loves to play up earmarks as being good for the district economy, but that is a lie made to cover up what it is really about; rewarding contributors. Earnmarks can go through and award government contracts to specific people without the competetive bidding process. It really is looting the treasury. Granted, there is so much money up there, earmarks won’t break us, but it just bugs the crap out of me to see people stealing like that and getting away with it.

  9. Democracy at work. Remember: “If what he did was wrong, he’ll be accountable to his constituents.”

  10. Actually, it’s “Howell Heflin.” And there is a music industry in Alabama; it’s currently a warehouse in Muscle Shoals.

  11. “it’s currently a warehouse in Muscle Shoals.”

    With all due respect to Musckel Shoals, and I fully admit it deserves a lot of respect, protecting the residuals of old blues musicians wasn’t too high old “Howell’s” list. Also, wasn’t his real name “Howard” but he went by “Howell”? Some kind of wierdo southern nickname thing.

  12. Doesn’t Muscle Shoals have the swamps?


  13. If what he did was wrong, he’ll be accountable to his constituents.

    Well, this is the rare case where his constituents might have reason to be angry. “If he’s stealing $10M from the Treasury, why isn’t it going to Alaska!”

  14. Speaking of corrupt Alaska congressmen, check this out:

    “A string of subpoenas issued by a federal grand jury last year indicate that the FBI is seeking information on the financing of the renovation of Ted Stevens’ Anchorage Alaska home at a cost exceeding $100,000, according to several of those who received the subpoenas. In the renovation, the contractors lifted the home – located next to an exclusive ski resort – on stilts and built a new floor beneath the existing one.”

    And it goes on…and involves the Republican Senator’s son as well.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.