As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Culture of Corruption, 4-Iron Edition

Don Young was getting a little cash in his golf bag.

The Justice Department is investigating whether an Alaska oil contractor used golf tournaments to funnel cash to Rep. Don Young, people close to the corruption investigation said.

The contractor, Rick Smith, told investigators that Young personally received cash at the events. Once an important ally who helped raise tens of thousands of dollars for Young's election committee, Smith has become a key government informant.
As part of his cooperation, Smith allowed FBI agents to record his telephone calls with the Republican congressman in a corruption sting. The former VECO Corp. vice president has pleaded guilty to bribing state lawmakers to support oil-friendly legislation.

It's one thing to get perks or favors in exchange for favorable legislation. Straight cash is quite another thing.

I love the alibi:

"That tournament had nothing to do with the campaign or anything official. It was just people getting together to play golf," said Young's campaign spokesman, Mike Anderson, who declined to discuss the tournaments or how often Young won. "The congressman finds it inappropriate to discuss anything connected to an ongoing investigation."

The first great thing is the contradiction between not being able to talk about anything related to the investigation and... talking about something related to the investigation. The second is this idea that it's just a bunch of buddies, all of whom have business before the Congressman, just getting together to play a little golf. How many of those businessmen got the yips when it came down to making the final putt? "Looks like you win again, Don. Here's your dough, now don't forget about this bridge to nowhere I wanna build..."

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