WASHINGTON -- The Florida Democratic Party is pouncing on a minor scandal involving Mitt Romney and Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla.), vowing to locate a gift Romney once bestowed to the lawmaker in order to use it against him in the November election. But tracking down the controversial item could prove difficult, according to a Capitol Hill staffer.

As HuffPost reported on Thursday, Young is one of a handful of Republican politicians Romney met with following the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002, presenting each with a replica Olympic torch. Since the souvenir torches now sell on eBay for hundreds, or thousands of dollars, it is possible that such a gift could potentially run afoul of congressional rules barring members from accepting gifts worth more than $50, depending on how House leaders interpret the original value of the torch.

When HuffPost asked Young about the torch, he acknowledged receiving it, indicating that he still had the torch in his possession. When asked about House gift rules, Young changed his story.

"It wasn't a gift," Young said. "It was to have in the possession of the Congress. It wasn't a gift, wasn't a gift to me. I don't even know where it is."

A few questions later, Young shifted his story again. "We have whatever it was at the Appropriations Committee."

Young chaired the Appropriations Committee from 1999 to 2005, when Romney was seeking federal funds for the Olympics, and still holds a seat on the powerful committee. A total of $1.3 billion in federal money was spent on the 2002 Olympics, more than twice the amount spent on the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. It is frowned upon in Washington for lobbyists and other interested parties to present gifts to the chairs of committees they do business with. The Appropriations Committee is responsible for distributing federal funds to various projects, making its chairman an extremely powerful person on Capitol Hill.

The Florida Democratic Party has been targeting Young for months, noting that his Republican affiliation in a district that went 53 percent for Barack Obama in 2008 should make him vulnerable. The Democrats have already incorporated Torchgate into their talking points.

"Bill Young should answer these questions," said Florida Democratic Party spokesman David Bergstein. "He should say where the torch is. He should say whether he violated House ethics rules." Bergstein said the torch incident indicates that Young is "out of touch" with the district -- a theme that both the Florida Democratic Party and the campaign for challenger Jessica Ehrlich have been deploying against Young lately.

"We're gonna find this torch," Bergstein added.

That could prove difficult. The torch is not displayed in any public hearing rooms used by the Appropriations Committee, and Ryan Nickel, a spokesman for the Democratic side of the committee, said he doubts that the torch is actually in committee hands.

"I worked in the majority and have been through both majority and minority storage space and never came across an Olympic torch," Nickel told HuffPost.

Young's office and the Republican side of the House Appropriations Committee declined to comment for this story.

It is extremely unlikely that any official wing of the House or Senate would initiate any formal censure against the lawmakers over a silly torch. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) who also received a torch from Romney, laughed off questions about whether he was concerned about the possibility of being taken to task for violating Senate gift rules.

But Young's connection to the Olympics is less politically appealing than Hatch's. Hatch represents the state where the 2002 event took place.

The Romney campaign declined to comment for this story.

Also on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • With A Little Help From My Friends (Joe Cocker)

    <strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/28/mitt-romney-will-not-repu_n_1551540.html" target="_hplink">(May 28, 2012) --</a></strong> Despite a resurgence of <a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/05/25/mitt-romney-s-new-bff-donald-trump.html" target="_hplink">Donald Trump's birther claims</a>, Romney refused to repudiate the billionaire, who has been helping with his 2012 campaign efforts. "You know, I don't agree with all the people who support me ... I need to get 50.1 percent or more and I'm appreciative to have the help of a lot of good people," Romney said. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • Who Let The Dogs Out (Baha Men)

    <strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/16/mitt-romney-seamus_n_1429925.html" target="_hplink">(April 16, 2012) -- </a></strong> In an interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer, Romney discussed the political fallout over strapping his dog Seamus to a car roof. He admits that he probably would not do it again. (Handout)

  • It's The End Of The World As We Know It (R.E.M.)

    <strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/04/mitt-romney-medicare-president-obama_n_1403267.html" target="_hplink">WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 4, 2012) --</a></strong> Speaking before the Newspaper Association of America, Romney attacked Barack Obama on his health record, claiming the president "has taken a series of steps that end Medicare as we know it." (Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

  • For The Love Of Money (The O'Jays)

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/14/mitt-romney-i-made-a-lot-of-money_n_1345516.html" target="_hplink"><strong>NEW YORK, N.Y. (March 14, 2012) -- </strong></a> Romney became testy on Fox News while discussing his appeal to lower-income voters. On the same day, Occupy Wall Street protesters staged a demonstration outside Mitt's Waldorf Astoria hotel fundraiser. (Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images)

  • People Are Strange (The Doors)

    <strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/09/mitt-romney-south_n_1334478.html" target="_hplink">PASCAGOULA, Miss. (March 9, 2012) --</a></strong> While on the trail in Alabama and Mississippi, Romney got in touch with his Southern side, learning how to say "y'all" and liking his grits. With those new experiences in hand, he admitted that "strange things are happening to me." (Photo: AP/Evan Vucci)

  • Pink Cadillac (Bruce Springsteen)

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/24/mitt-romney-cadillac_n_1299740.html" target="_hplink"><strong>DETROIT, Mich. (Feb. 24, 2012) -- </strong></a> While speaking before the Detroit Economic Club at Ford Field, Romney listed not two, not three, but four American-made cars that he and his wife, Ann, owned. Among the vehicles: "a couple of Cadillacs." (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • It's The Hard-Knock Life (Annie & The Orphans)

    <strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/01/mitt-romney-very-poor_n_1246557.html" target="_hplink">TAMPA, Fla. (Feb. 1, 2012) --</a></strong> In an interview with CNN, Romney noted that he is "not concerned about the very poor," citing the social safety net for that segment of the populace. (Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • America The Beautiful

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/31/mitt-romney-america-the-beautiful-_n_1243908.html" target="_hplink"><strong>THE VILLAGES, Fla. (Jan. 31, 2012) --</strong></a> On the eve of Florida's primary, Romney led his supporters in a singing of the patriotic song. (Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Successful (Drake, Lil Wayne)

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/19/mitt-romney-tax-returns_n_1217708.html" target="_hplink"> <strong>CHARLESTON, S.C. (Jan. 19, 2012) -- </strong></a> During CNN's GOP debate, Romney refused to commit to disclosing his tax returns, offering no apologies for his success. (Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Bye Bye Bye ('N Sync)

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/09/mitt-romney-i-like-being-able-to-fire-people_n_1194115.html" target="_hplink"><strong>NASHUA, N.H. (Jan. 9, 2012) -- </strong></a> In a speech about insurance options, Romney tells audience members, "I like being able to fire people who provide services to me." (Photo:AP/Charles Dharapak)

  • Don't Know Why (Norah Jones)

    <strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/28/mitt-romney-embraces-climate-change-denial_n_1063905.html" target="_hplink">PITTSBURGH, Pa. (Oct. 27, 2011) --</a></strong> Back in June 2011, Romney said humans are somewhat tied to climate change. By October, he had reversed course, saying "We don't know what causes climate change." (Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)