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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Earmark scandal has new legs

An lobbying-earmark case that involves Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Indian Shores, and other lawmakers just won't die.

The House Office of Congressional Ethics has decided to turn over evidence to the Justice Department that suggests some defense contractors thought their campaign donations were paving the way for projects.

Young's Democratic challenger Charlie Justice seized on the news this morning, calling for Young to resign for "bringing disgrace to the people of Pinellas County, his office and himself." It's unclear how involved Young is in the matter, however, if he is at all.

In February, the House ethics panel cleared Young and six other lawmakers of wrongdoing with their dealings with the now-defunct lobbying firm PMA. Young had previously been cleared in a related investigation.

But the matter got new life after Reps. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Paul Hodes, D-N.H., asked the ethics office to publicly release its evidence. It declined, citing a "pending criminal investigation" and instead voted to forward its material to the Justice Department, which had been investigating the PMA influence since 2008.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 10:40am]


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