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The United States Of Don Young

You can disregard everything you thought you learned in civics class about how a bill becomes a law. The Washington Post reports today on the latest antics of Don Young, the colorfully corrupt Republican congressman from Alaska:

The Senate moved yesterday toward asking the Justice Department for a criminal investigation of a $10 million legislative earmark whose provisions were mysteriously altered after Congress gave final approval to a huge 2005 highway funding bill. ...

Young's staff acknowledged yesterday that aides "corrected" the earmark just before it went to the White House for President Bush's signature, specifying that the money would go to a proposed highway interchange project on Interstate 75 near Naples, Fla. Young says the project was entirely worthy of an earmark and he welcomes any inquiry, a spokeswoman said. ...

Young's critics suggest that the motive for the I-75 provision was campaign contributions from real estate developers who own 4,000 acres of land near the proposed interchange. In February 2005, developer Daniel Aronoff hosted Young and Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.) at a highway safety event at Florida Gulf Coast University, followed by a fundraiser that brought in about $40,000 for Young's campaign.

TPM's Paul Kiel has more. Kiel points out that as recently as February, Young was publicly denying any knowledge of the rogue earmark. By normal standards this would be ridiculous, but by Don Young's standards, it's pretty tame.

--Josh Patashnik