Generally people who quit lose respect. Generally people who persevere are respected. However in the case of Sarah Palin and Don Young, their relationship is confusing and neither is worth respect. Palin is worthy of disrespect because she quit. Young is worthy of disrespect because he has remained in office so long. Palin is worthy of disrespect because she pretended to disrespect Young, and now pretends to respect him.
Alaska’s U.S. Representative, Don Young, has now become the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives. Rep. John Conyers of Michigan has now resigned amid harassment claims.
Thus Young at 84 years old, born in 1933, has become the longest serving Congressman. If you haven’t followed Sarah Palin for the last 10 years, you might be fooled by her recent Facebook post congratulating Young on his exceptionally long history of “service.”
- “Congratulations Congressman Don Young!
From being a teacher in the small Alaska Village of Fort Yukon to becoming the longest serving Congressman . The greatest generation with that can do no BS attitude, got to love it!
Thank you Congressman Don Young for your service! -SP”
The truth is that Young and Palin have a long and colorful history. At the time Palin was running with McCain, she distanced herself from Young who was known as the “King of Pork.” In fact Palin was described as “going rogue” against Don Young long ago.
Elected in 1973, Young has come to epitomize what is wrong with Washington. Because of his questionable use of campaign funds and cronyism
, Young has long been recognized as one of the most corrupt politicians in D.C.. Palin endorsed Sean Parnell
in his campaign challenging Young.
Obviously Young won the election. Now that Palin has quit her job and not served in a political position for more than 8 years, she praises Young for his service. It is ironic that she praises Young for the length of his service when she quit. It is even more ironic that she praises Young for the length of his service when his years of service have been rife with scandals of corruption and outrageous behavior. Here are just a few examples
of the conduct of Young over his history of “service”:
1. Young called farm workers “wetbacks.”
4. On October 3, 2014, the Alaska Dispatch-News reported that Representative Young had verbally threatened a congressional candidate. According to Forrest Dunbar, the Democratic candidate running against Young in Alaska’s at-large district, after he made a friendly gesture towards Young, lightly touching him on the shoulder, Young responded, “Don’t you ever touch me. Don’t ever touch me. The last guy who touched me ended up on the ground dead.”
5. On June 20, 2014, the House Ethics Committee released a report which found that Representative Young had “violated House rules by improperly accepting gifts and spending campaign funds for personal use.” Young reportedly “converted campaign funds to personal use” and “failed to report some gifts on his financial disclosure statements.” The gifts and expenses were related to numerous hunting trips taken between 2001 and 2013, amounting to $59,063.74.
6. During a May 20, 2014 hearing of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs, Young referred to proposed new regulations on drilling in national wildlife refuges as a “hare-brained idea.” He then insulted environmental advocates, questioning, “Are you going to listen and give credit to those that live there and were guaranteed by Congress the right to develop their resources for their social and economic mobility, or are you going to listen to a bunch of jackasses from societies that don’t even live there?” Less than two weeks after dismissing the need for new rules on drilling, an estimated 50 barrels of oil was spilled in the Delta National Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana, affecting ten acres of freshwater marsh.
7. On November 6, 2013, Young spoke during a Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce luncheon. He stated, “This state has got to say, we’re not following the rules of the federal government unless you can show where there is no detrimental effect to the constituents in the State of Alaska.” Young was expressing support for the concept of nullification, a theory that a state may unilaterally decide when a federal law is “unconstitutional” and refuse to abide by it. The theory of nullification has been repeatedly discredited throughout American history.
8. In a radio interview with KRBD-FM (Ketchikan, Alaska) on March 28, 2013, Young recalled, “My father had a ranch. We used to have 50-60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes. It takes two people to pick the same tomatoes now. It’s all done by machine.” The National Council of La Raza, a Latino advocacy group, condemned Young’s comments in a statement, saying, “It is very sad and extremely disappointing that on the eve of Cesar Chavez’s birthday—a man who spent his entire life exhorting his fellow Americans to treat migrant workers with dignity, respect, and humanity—we learn that an elected member of Congress continues to use such an antiquated and demeaning term. Let us be clear: that word was inexcusable then, and it is inexcusable now. Congressman Young owes our community a full and sincere apology.”
10. In March 2011, five members of the Alaska Peacemakers Militia, including leader Francis Cox, were arrested for planning to kill Alaska State Troopers and a federal judge. The group—which had stockpiled firearms and explosives—advocated the violent secession of Alaska from the United States. The Peacemakers had earlier distributed a “Letter of Declaration” which called for armed insurrection in response to the federal government’s enactment of gun violence prevention laws. Representative Young signed the letter at a Peacemakers “Open Carry” event in a restaurant in Fairbanks, Alaska. When asked during the event, “If any government should decide that we have to register certain of our arms or turn them in, what would your recommendation be?” Young replied, “Don’t do it…I sincerely mean that. Don’t turn them in.”
11. In February 2010, Young called global warming “the biggest scam since the Teapot Dome [bribery incident].” Young questioned why “we’ve got to make everything colder” because “ice grows nothing.”
12. A June 8, 2007 fundraising email sent by Young’s chief of staff to 27 supporters in Alaska—23 of whom were lobbyists—warned that “you and your clients will be impacted by [the results of Young’s 2008 congressional reelection campaign].” The email generated at least $90,000 in fundraising for Young’s campaign.
13. Young was the subject of a 2007 Justice Department criminal inquiry on the basis of his association with employees of the VECO Corporation that were convicted of bribery. VECO CEO Bill Allen, who hosted a yearly fundraiser for Young called “The Pig Roast,” pled guilty to charges that he bribed three Alaska state legislators. Between 1996 and 2006, VECO fundraisers raised over $150,000 for Young. According to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), VECO benefited from earmarks and legislation proposed by Young during this period.
15. In 2005, Young secured a $10 million earmark for the improvement of Coconut Road, a street that runs near Fort Myers, Florida. The Republican House Member responsible for the area where Coconut Road is located did not request the funds. Local planning officials rejected the federal money three separate times because they did not want to undertake the project. The connection of the street to Interstate 75 would have been a windfall to developer Daniel Aronoff, who owned a large amount of land near the expansion project. Aronoff, whose lobbyist was to be put directly through to staff whenever he called Young’s office, helped raise $40,000 for Young at a February 2005 fundraiser. Lee County Commissioner Ray Judah (a Republican) stated, “It would appear that Don Young was doing a favor for a major contributor.” Beyond accusations of “pay-to-play” on the part of Young and Aronoff, the Coconut Road project was controversial for a number of other reasons. Environmentalists alleged that the project would threaten protected areas. In 2008, the Senate voted 63-29 to ask the Department of Justice to investigate Young because the earmark was inserted after the bill was finalized by Congress. When a reporter approached Young to discuss the Coconut Road allegations, he responded with an obscene gesture.
16. In 2005, Young secured a $223 million earmark for a construction project that became known as “The Bridge to Nowhere.” The bridge was designed to connect Ketchikan, Alaska (pop. 8,000) with Gravina Island (pop. 50) and would have been nearly as long as the Golden Gate Bridge and taller than the Brooklyn Bridge. At this time, a ferry ran every 30 minutes between Gravina Island and the mainland. Young also secured a $231 million earmark in the same bill for a bridge that would have connected Anchorage to Knik, Alaska (pop. 22). This bridge was to be named “Don Young’s Way.” Young openly bragged that the appropriations bill in question was stuffed “like a turkey.” When Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and others suggested that funds from the bridge projects be diverted to provide relief in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Young responded, “They can kiss my ear! That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.” In response to national outrage over the earmarks, plans to construct both bridges were canceled, but Alaska was allowed to retain the earmarked funds in the state’s general federal highway allotment fund. In 2007, Young warned then-Governor Sarah Palin, “Don’t even think of giving that money back” in response to a Congressional proposal to send some of Alaska’s funds to Minnesota in the wake of a bridge collapse in that state. An August 2007 Palin email indicated that Young continued to work behind the scenes to construct Don Young’s Way. Young was sharply criticized by commentators on both the left and right wing of politics.
17. In 1995, Young gave a speech to high school students about the controversial artwork of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. When asked by a student what offended Young about the photographs, the Congressman responded, “Butt fucking. You think that’s art?”
18. During a 1994 Congressional hearing, Young angrily waved an 18-inch oosik (walrus penis bone) at Mollie Beattie, the first female director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
19. In 1988, Young unsheathed his Buck knife on the House floor and threatened political retribution against Representative Robert Mrazek (D-NY) after the Democratic Congressman sponsored a bill to protect Alaska’s Tongass National Forest.
20. The House Ethics Committee ruled that Rep. Don Young violated Congressional rules by improperly accepting nearly $60,000 in hunting trips, rides on private planes and other gifts and failing to report them on his financial disclosure forms.