Hall of Shame /
Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio)
Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio)
- Resigned his position as chairman of the House Administration Committee on January 15, 2006, after being implicated in the Jack Abramoff scandal. While the Department of Justice continues to investigate the corruption allegations surrounding Bob Ney, the House ethics committee announced that it will initiate its own investigation this coming year.
- Former chief of staff pleaded guilty to corruption while both serving as Ney’s aide and as a lobbyist. Former Chief of Staff Neil Volz pleaded guilty to corruption charges on May 8,2006, admitting that he participated in a conspiracy to bribe Ney and others by providing free trips, gifts and meals. Volz worked for Ney when Jack Abramoff successfully encouraged Ney insert a provision into an unrelated bill that would re-open the Tigua Indian Tribe’s casino, then a client of Jack Abramoff. In 2002, Volz left Ney’s office to work as a lobbyist for Jack Abramoff, making direct lobbying contact with his former colleagues in violation of the one year revolving door ban. [Washington Post, 5/9/2006]
- Used the power of his office to help former super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his business partner buy a casino cruise line. Ney aided Abramoff in his fraudulent purchase of the SunCruz Casinos by placing comments in the Congressional Record that criticized the conduct of Gus Boulis, the casino’s owner, who was balking at selling the company. Ney’s comments also praised one of the purchasers, Adam Kidan, who was Abramoff’s partner, for his “honesty and integrity.” Boulis, whom Ney dubbed “a bad apple,” was gunned down the following year in a mob style hit, for which business associates of Kidan have been charged. Abramoff and Kidan subsequently pleaded guilty to faking a wire transfer of $23 million to deceive a lender into believing that they had put up their own capital for the $147.5 million purchase. In his plea agreement, Abramoff alleges that Ney (whom the documents identify as “Representative No. 1”) placed the comments in the Congressional Record and performed other services in exchange for trips to Scotland and the Northern Mariana Islands, tickets to sporting events and other entertainment, regular meals at Abramoff’s upscale restaurant and campaign contributions to Ney.[Abramoff Plea Agreement, 1/3/2006; Washington Post, 10/18/2005 and 1/5/2006]
- Received campaign contributions and an extravagant trip from one of Abramoff’s Indian clients while he supported the client’s attempt to reopen a casino. In March 2002, Abramoff instructed officials of the Tigua Indian tribe to contribute $32,000 to Ney’s campaign and PACs, which they did. Abramoff subsequently sent an e-mail to a consultant for the tribe saying that “our friend” had “asked if we could help (as in cover) a Scotland golf trip for him and some staff.” The consultant understood “our friend” to be Ney. The Tiguas then contributed $50,000 to Abramoff’s foundation, which later reported in tax forms that it spent $150,225 on an August 2002 trip to Scotland that included Ney and featured a golf outing on that country’s legendary St. Andrews course. That August, Ney met for 90 minutes with Tigua representatives. “During that meeting, Congressman Ney was very animated about Mr. Abramoff’s skill and repute as a leader in the lobbying circles,” a Tigua representative testified. “We were told about the impending success of Mr. Abramoff’s legislative plan and how much Congressman Ney wanted to help to restore the Tribe’s ability to conduct gaming on their reservation.” Ney later claimed that his support for the legislation was based on Abramoff’s false claim that Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) also supported it. But there is one problem: Dodd informed Ney in July 2002 that he didn’t support the legislation. Ney told the Tiguas in August that he still did. Charging documents against Abramoff cite "a lavish trip to Scotland" among the favors received by Ney in exchange for which he performed official acts, including “agreements to support and pass legislation.” [U.S. Attorney Charges, 1/3/2006; Washington Post, 9/28/2004 and 10/18/2005]
- Helped another Abramoff client win a government contract. The House Administration Committee, from which Ney resigned his chairmanship in January 2006 due to the Abramoff scandal, steered a $3 million contract to Abramoff client Foxcom (now MobileAccess) in 2002 to install cellular phone antennas in House offices. Foxcom had donated $50,000 to Abramoff’s Capital Athletic Foundation in 2001 and proceeded to pay Abramoff’s lobbying firm $280,000 over the two years following the award of the contract. An executive of LGC, the firm that had advised the House on wireless infrastructure until the new contract was issued, complained to Ney that Foxcom’s selection was “essentially a ‘back room’ deal.” The senior network systems engineer for the House said the award of the contract to Foxcom left him “really surprised, given all the work we put in with LGC in designing the system.” A spokesman for Ney claimed that wireless providers had voted for Foxcom in secret ballots, but spokesmen for each of the six wireless companies told the Washington Post they had remained neutral in the selection process. Ney refused to make public a copy of documents relating to the agreement. Charging documents against Abramoff allege that the “official acts” Ney performed in exchange for favors received from Abramoff included “advancing the application of a client of defendant Abramoff for a license to install wireless telephone infrastructure in the House of Representatives.” [U.S. Attorney Charges, 1/3/2006; Washington Post, 10/18/2005]
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