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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 -
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington -

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