TPM's Muckraker recalls how congressional boodler, Don Young of Alaska (Mike Huckabee's congressional campaign leader) went around the country shaking down political contributions in return for highway spending.
His stop in Arkansas has been chronicled before, but as investigators close in on the man who built the bridge to nowhere, it might be well to remember our state's complicity in his scheming.
Another state far from Young's district – Arkansas – reaped $415 million in transportation earmarks just a few months after residents there gave generously to Young and his PAC.
The projects included $72 million to extend Interstate 530 starting in the town of Pine Bluff, where Arkansas natives contributed $66,000. "There were people from all over southeastern Arkansas," an Arkansas Democrat told the Anchorage Daily News, adding that "any time a chairman of a major committee comes down here, we're going to salute."
The bill also tagged $35 million to widen the street leading to Wal-Mart's headquarters in Bentonville. Young collected $14,000 from Wal-Mart's PAC and executives around the time the bill passed.