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Opinion
Column: Ney investigated for Abramoff donations


"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 now 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."

Get the Story:
Art Levine: The Super-Lobbyist's 'Friend' (The American Prospect 5/10)

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