May 16, 2005
More Abramoff fun—Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) said today that it has prepared an ethics complaint against Ohio Republican representative Bob Ney:
“CREW is now publicly asking Members of the House to consider forwarding the complaint against Representative Bob Ney to the Ethics Committee because Mr. Ney has committed serious, unethical and possibly illegal acts,” Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW, said today.
…“The complaint against Rep. Ney is based on his conduct with regard to the Tigua Indians of El Paso, Texas, a tribe represented by lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who is known to be close to Ney,” Sloan said today. “The complaint is based on e-mails made public by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, sworn testimony before the Indian Affairs Committee, tax records, and Mr. Ney’s campaign committee and political action committee Federal Election Commission filings.”
A review of the evidence suggests that Mr. Ney may have broken criminal statutes as well as House rules. First, a contribution to a political campaign can constitute a bribe if a quid pro quo can be demonstrated. Here, within days of lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s initial meeting with Mr. Ney to discuss the Tigua’s situation, Mr. Abramoff advised Marc Schwartz, the Tigua’s political consultant, to have the Tigua prepare and Federal Express three checks to Rep. Ney’s political committees, totaling $32,000. The apparent exchange of campaign contributions in return for Mr. Ney’s support of an amendment to reopen the Speaking Rock Casino could constitute bribery.
Second, Mr. Ney may have illegally solicited a gratuity. The illegal gratuity statute prohibits a public official from directly or indirectly, demanding, seeking, receiving, accepting or agreeing to accept anything of value personally for or because of any official act performed or to be performed by such official. E-mail exchanges between Mr. Abramoff and Mr. Schwartz indicate that Rep. Ney solicited the Tigua to pay for part of a 2002 golf trip to Scotland. Solicitation of travel is specifically prohibited by House Rules and by the Ethics in Government Act.
And so on and on. This probably isn’t great news for Ralph Reed, either.
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