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Club for Growth

Conservatives Go After Embattled Republican Congressman

Republican Don Young, Alaska's congressman for nearly 36 years, has come under attack by three conservative groups.

He's under investigation on corruption allegations. His leading opponent, Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell, has been endorsed by Gov. Sarah Palin.

Such help as he's getting is coming from Democrats.

First, the attacks, which all play off the Justice Department investigation and Young's reputation for extravagant earmarking of federal budget dollars.

The Club For Growth PAC has this ad on Alaska TV, calling Young "just another Washington politician."

The PAC says it's also running radio ads and a telephone campaign against Young.

The congressman, never known for letting an attack go unanswered, complained to the Federal Election Commission that the "Club for Lack of Growth in Alaska," as he calls it, violated election law. CFG PAC brushed him off with another swipe at his record.

Opening another front, the National Taxpayers Union and Council for Citizens Against Government Waste filed separately with the FEC Friday, saying they would spend nearly $50,000 combined on radio ads against Young. One ad is called "Diet," the other "Sunny Florida," an apparent reference to an earmark obtained for a well-heeled Florida donor to Young.

CCAGW reported that it received $25,000 from Club For Growth to help finance the ads.

All three groups advocate support lower taxes and smaller government. Club For Growth has the highest political profile of the three. Historically, it's done better knocking off moderate Republicans (RINOs, or Republicans in Name Only) in primaries than in getting conservatives elected in November.

With conservatives pounding Young, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee last week spent $18,000 on a direct-mail piece attacking Parnell.

Federal prosecutors are scrutinizing Young's record of earmarking for Alaska (and, at least in that one case, for a friend in Florida). It's part of a lengthy probe of political corruption in Alaska. Several state lawmakers have been convicted. And in July, a grand jury indicted Alaska's senior senator, Ted Stevens — elected three years before Young, in 1970.