Sunday, July 06, 2008

More on lobbyist's relationship with Rep. Young

According to reports from the McClatchy Washington Bureau:

A-Team lobbyist Rick Alcalde (Richard Alcalde) was never a staffer to Rep. Don Young (R-AK). He lobbied for the 2005 earmark that shifted $10 million from a road-widening project in southwest Florida to a study of an interstate interchange (Coconut Road) that would benefit Daniel Aronoff, a Michigan developer who raised money for Young.

That earmark mushroomed into a national controversy in part because it was placed in the highway bill, by someone on Young's staff, after the House and Senate had voted on the bill but before it went to the president for his signature.

Young has said he supported the money because local residents and Florida Gulf Coast University requested money for the project. Alcalde has lobbied for both Florida Gulf Coast University and Aronoff's real estate firm, the Landon Companies. Lobbying disclosures show that in 2005, the Landon Companies paid Alcalde $80,000 specifically to lobby on Young's highway bill.

Now Alcalde finds himself at the heart of an official investigation into the Coconut Road earmark matter.

Mike Anderson, Young's chief of staff, said Young doesn't make decisions based on lobbying and his relationship with Alcalde is personal.

"If Rick Alcalde could talk to you on the phone he would tell you that when he was a youngster and so forth he was kind of a rabble-rouser and everything else. The Youngs looked out for him," Anderson said. "And that goes back to the relationship the Youngs have with Mr. Alcalde, with Hector, (Rick's) father and his mother. When Rick went through some tough times and so forth the Youngs were there to help him, to kind of give him some of that guidance he needed. ... Rick credits the Youngs with being a mentor."

Hector Alcalde, Rick's father, is a longtime, top-tier Washington, D.C., lobbyist.

Rick Alcalde represents Michael Malik's affiliates MJM Enterprises and Blue Water Resorts. He also represents Malik's partner the Shinnecock Indian Nation.

Prior to starting the lobbying firm Potomac Partners D.C. in 2005, Alcalde represented the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and Station Casinos as well as the Detroit International Bridge company. Malik has ties to all three of those entities.

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