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Opinion
Commentary: Ney just a 'friend' of Jack Abramoff


"Take pity on poor Bob Ney, who insists he’s just another victim of lobbyist Jack Abramoff and public-relations consultant Michael Scanlon. Unlike the half-dozen Indian tribes that paid about $82 million to that scamming duo, however, the U.S. representative at least got campaign donations and a lavish trip to Scotland’s legendary St. Andrew’s golf course out of them. Whether he got more than that is now a matter of interest to Justice Department investigators, according to a knowledgeable source who says that the probers are seeking to discover whether Ney received any illegal donations from Abramoff.

An affable, 50-year-old conservative Republican from Ohio, Ney portrays himself as a “dupe” of Abramoff and Scanlon, the pair of rapscallions targeted by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee and the Justice Department for their alleged defrauding of tribes seeking increased clout.

Both Abramoff and a lawyer for Scanlon have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. Yet the lobbyists’ operation looks like such a breathtaking scam that it stuns even veteran observers of Washington scandals. Last November, the Indian Affairs Committee detailed how they took $4.2 million from the Tigua tribe of El Paso, Texas, while doing little to help reopen the tribe’s casino with federal legislation that Ney had ostensibly championed. Abramoff and Scanlon had previously worked with the cherubic religious-right consultant Ralph Reed to prod Texas authorities to shut down the Tigua casino and another sought by a Houston-area tribe, while using at least $4 million of a rival Louisiana tribe’s money. When they began the subsequent wooing of the Tigua tribe in early 2002, Abramoff wrote to Scanlon, “I’d love us to get our mitts on that moolah!!”"

Get the Story:
Art Levine: The DeLay Wannabes (The Amercan Prospect 5/23)

Relevant Documents:
Complaint | Complaint Summary | Exhibits

Relevant Links:
Rep. Bob Ney - http://ney.house.gov
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington - http://www.citizensforethics.org

Related Stories:
Complaint drafted for Ney's role in Tigua scam (05/17)
Column: Ney investigated for Abramoff donations (5/11)
Abramoff lobbying scandal prompts look at rules (5/9)
Jack Abramoff breaks silence on lobbying scandal (5/2)
McCain won't touch lawmakers in probe of Abramoff (4/28)
Ney signed onto bill after using tribe's luxury suite (4/28)
Foe of Texas tribes denies knowing Abramoff (4/18)
Tigua Tribe settles dispute over Abramoff fees (02/14)
Probe sought of Congressman linked to lobbyists (01/07)
Editorial: Ney's judgment 'clouded' by Abramoff (12/20)
Ney to meet with ethics panel over Abramoff ties (12/16)
Congressman subject of inquiry for Abramoff ties (12/15)
Editorial: Ney not exactly a victim in Tigua case (12/03)
Former Ney chief of staff worked with Abramoff (11/19)
High-priced lobbyist scam linked to lawmakers (11/18)
Tigua Tribe to testify at Senate lobbying hearing (11/16)
Tigua Tribe mum on Washington lobbyists (10/12)
Texas AG asked to investigate Abramoff, Scanlon (10/1)
Ex-tribal lobbyists slammed in Senate hearing (9/30)
Tigua Tribe outraged over being played as 'moronic' (9/28)
Tribes told to donate to lobbyists' foundation (9/28)
Lobbyists worked for, against 'moronic' Tiguas (9/27) Senate hearing on tribal lobbying probe set (8/26)
Busy Indian Affairs Committee hits snag on big issues (06/17)
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