Monday, March 1, 2010

Indictment #4 Young Used Campaign Funds To Buy A Luxury Car

From Charlie Justice:

Rep. Bill Young Used Campaign Funds To Buy A Luxury Car

Fourth Count of Indictment: Luxury Car with Campaign Funds

Young bought $30,000 car using campaign funds to “keep in touch” with constituents

St. Petersburg, FL - February 18, 2010 - Charlie Justice says Congressman Bill Young is so out of touch with reality that he once used his campaign fund to buy himself a luxury car.

“When a Congressman starts using his campaign funds to buy himself a luxury car then you can bet he thinks he’s untouchable,” Justice said. “The purchase of the car seems to be a point in time when Young became more reckless and arrogant than ever. He began putting more and more amendments in the federal budget for lobbyists and accepting huge campaign contributions in return.”

During the 1990 campaign cycle, Rep. Young purchased a brand new Lincoln Continental using $30,000 in campaign funds. Although questions were raised over a possible ethics violation, Young maintained that there was nothing untoward about the purchase. He claimed the car was necessary for campaigning in his district, but he ran unopposed in the 1990 election.

“Congressman Bill Young doesn’t think he has to answer to anybody. Not the voters, the taxpayers or the Ethics Committee,” Justice said.

Justice’s release of the information today is the fourth installment in his “ten point indictment” of Young’s abuse of power. Before today’s release, Justice criticized Young for sending $13.5 million to New York Harbor for a floating museum and pointed out that Young-backed earmarks have been investigated by law enforcement officials on four separate occasions. Three of those investigations are still open. Justice also revealed that Young has placed amendments on the budget to the tune of $118 million that directly benefited his sons, daughter-in-law and former members of his staff.

“At a time when families and small businesses in Pinellas County are struggling to make ends meet, Bill Young and his friends and family are living the high life at the taxpayers’ expense,” Justice said. “When I see this kind of abuse of trust I completely understand the anger and frustration that is shaking the foundations of our democracy.”

“In his relentless quest for campaign contributions, Congressman Young has taken $737,000 in campaign cash in return for inserting so-called budget ‘earmarks’ into the federal budget. Along the way, investigations have shown that Young’s benefactors have been investigated for a variety of charges including bribery and fraud,” Justice said.

“Here’s what I will do differently. I won’t be buying a luxury car with my campaign funds as your Congressman. To do so would be, in my view, an insult to the people of Pinellas County who are struggling to make ends meet,” Justice said.

Indictment #4 – Luxury Car with Campaign Funds

$30,000 in campaign funds unethically spent by Young.

$30,000 for a Luxury Car

Thanks to defense contractors and others who gave money to his campaign, Rep. C. W. Bill Young of St. Petersburg liked to ride in style in a light blue Lincoln.

The 10th-term Republican bought the car in August of 1990 with $29,124 in campaign money, replacing another Lincoln that Young's campaign leased for the last four years. He also billed the campaign for the new car's taxes and title, a portable telephone and frequent fill-ups at the gas station.

Exercised His Own Discretion Over Ethical Rules

Young didn't reach into his own pocket for the new Lincoln because, he said, the car will be used to drive to political events in his district in and around St. Petersburg.

"There is a very legitimate need for transportation," Young said.

He said he chose a Lincoln because "it's big" and can carry several passengers. The car's standard features include air conditioning, AM/FM stereo cassette, power windows, power antenna and power seats, according to a saleswoman at Scarritt Motors where Young's campaign bought the car.

"I don't think this is the kind of campaign expenditure people are concerned about. This is all up front. It's a pure provision of transportation for political purposes," Young said. "There's nothing hidden here. There's nothing improper about it at all." (St. Petersburg Times, Sep. 27, 1990)

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