CREW Files FOIA Appeals Regarding Rep. Don Young Investigations
Today CREW filed administrative appeals from the refusal of the Department of Justice’s Executive Office of the United States Attorneys (EOUSA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to provide any records related to their investigation of former House Transportation Committee Chairman Don Young (R-AK), including documents that would answer why Rep. Young was not criminally prosecuted despite clear evidence he violated the law.
DOJ conducted at least two investigations of Rep. Young. One probed whether he accepted bribes, illegal gratuities, or unreported gifts from an Alaskan company, and a second one examined Rep. Young's insertion of a $10 million earmark into a transportation bill - after Congress passed it - that benefitted one of his campaign contributors. DOJ told Rep. Young in August 2010 it had concluded its investigation and would not prosecute him.
CREW filed Freedom of Information Act requests for records related to the investigation in January. Days later, both EOUSA and the FBI denied the requests, claiming that disclosure would violate Rep. Young’s privacy. These denials fail to take into account the significant public interest in Rep. Young’s conduct and DOJ’s decision to close its investigation without bringing charges against him, as well as Rep. Young’s diminished privacy interest in the requested records.