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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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