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Ohio Congressman a big focus of Abramoff probe

Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) is under investigation by federal prosecutors for his ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, The Washington Post reports.

The investigation concerns Abramoff's purchase of a fleet of casino boats in Florida. Abramoff and Adam Kidan, his business partner, have been indicted for bank fraud for allegedly faking a $23 million wire transfer as part of the failed deal.

Ney comes into the picture on two occasions. On March 30, 2000, he inserted statements into the Congressional Record that criticized Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis, the owner of the SunCruz casino boats [PDF]. The negative comments came as Abramoff and Kidan were negotiating to buy the fleet.

Just a few months later, on October 26, 2000, Ney inserted comments that praised Kidan and his purchase of SunCruz. No mention was made of Abramoff's involvement in the deal [PDF].

According to The Post, the Congressional Record remarks were orchestrated by Michael Scanlon, a former spokesperson for Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) and a business partner of Abramoff's. Scanlon approached Ney's chief of staff, Neil Volz, who later went to work with Abramoff.

Ney is tied to Abramoff in other ways as well. In 2002, he agreed to sponsor a rider to help the Tigua Tribe of Texas reopen its casino. Ney later claimed he was "duped" by Abramoff into backing the language, which never made it into a bill. Ney nevertheless took $32,000 from the tribe but his spokesperson said the money has been given to charity, The Post reports.

In 2001, Ney also helped a foreign client of Abramoff's land a $3 million contract to install cellular phone antennas in U.S. House buildings in what one competing company called a "back room" deal.

Get the Story:
Lawmaker's Abramoff Ties Investigated (The Washington Post 10/18)

Relevant Links:
Rep. Bob Ney -

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