DNC: Ney Guilty Plea Highlights Ever-Growing GOP Culture of Corruption
Washington, DC - Disgraced Ohio Republican Congressman Bob Ney today finally pled guilty to felony charges of conspiracy and making false statements after taking tens of thousands of dollars worth of trips, sports tickets, campaign contributions, meals and casino chips from convicted Republican super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff. This is just the latest example of the ever-growing Republican culture of corruption. Ney's conviction follows the conviction of former GOP Congressman Duke Cunningham, the resignation of former Republican House leader Tom DeLay and the eruption of numerous scandals surrounding a number of Republicans in Washington. At the same time, Republicans in Congress have consistently blocked ethics reform packages proposed by Democrats.
"Republican Congressman Bob Ney is finally heading to prison, but that hasn't stopped Republicans in Washington from playing politics with ethics reform," said Democratic National Committee Press Secretary Stacie Paxton. "Even after the conviction of Republican Congressmen Bob Ney and Duke Cunningham and the scandals surrounding former Majority leader Tom DeLay and other Republicans, the GOP continues to put the interests of their Party ahead of their country by blocking Democratic efforts to clean up Congress. The American people cannot trust Republicans in Washington to act ethically and honestly. It is time for a new direction, which is why Democrats remain committed to ending the Republican culture of corruption in Washington and passing real ethics reform."
GOP ABANDONS ETHICS REFORMS
In Wake Of DeLay Scandals, Boehner Had No Plan To Change Lobbying Rules. John Boehner became House Republican Leader after Tom DeLay stepped down amid a swirl of ethics problems. In an interview with the Washington Post shortly after taking his new post, Boehner "emphasized that he has no plan to change lobbying rules." He also said that he would not seek a ban on "provisions in spending bills that fund lawmakers' pet projects," also known as earmarks. [Washington Post, 2/4/06]
Boehner's Ethics Agenda A "Joke." "Do you remember, back when the spotlight was on Jack Abramoff, how House Republican leaders pledged to get tough on lobbyists? Well, you may; apparently they don't. The House plans this week to take up the Lobbying Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006, a watered-down sham that would provide little in the way of accountability or transparency. If the Senate-passed measure was a disappointment, the House version is simply a joke -- or, more accurately, a ruse aimed at convincing what the leaders must believe is a doltish public that the House has done something to clean up Washington." [Washington Post, Editorial, 4/25/06]
FBI Has Tripled The Size Of Its Capitol Hill Corruption Squads. "There is so much political corruption on Capitol Hill that the FBI has had to triple the number of squads investigating lobbyists, lawmakers and influence peddlers, the New York Daily News has learned. For decades, only one squad in Washington handled corruption cases because the crimes were seen as local offenses handled by FBI field offices in lawmakers' home districts. But in recent years, the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal and other abuses of power and privilege have prompted the FBI to assign 37 agents full-time to three new squads in an office near Capitol Hill." [New York Daily News, 9/19/06]
DESPITE THE EVER-GROWING GOP CULTURE OF CORRUPTION
Key Rove Advisor Resigns After Report Of Hundreds Of White House Contacts With Abramoff. "A key aide to presidential political strategist Karl Rove resigned Friday in the wake of a congressional report that listed hundreds of contacts between disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and the White House. Susan Ralston, special assistant to President Bush, submitted a resignation letter to him less than five weeks before congressional elections in which corruption and scandal are emerging as key issues for voters... The House Government Reform Committee last week issued a report saying that based on documents supplied by Abramoff's former lobbying firm, he had 485 lobbying contacts with White House officials over three years, including 10 with Rove. At the time, the White House said it was unclear whether all the listed contacts were legitimate because they were based on sometimes-sketchy information provided by Abramoff himself." [Bloomberg, 10/13/06]
Abramoff Colleague And Former DeLay Staffer, Michael Scanlon, Plead Guilty. "Michael Scanlon, the Texas Republican's former press secretary, pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of conspiring to offer bribes to public officials and defraud tribal clients of his public relations firm. In a plea agreement, Scanlon agreed to assist prosecutors investigating the activities of his business partner, lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and their dealings with members of Congress and the Bush administration. Scanlon also agreed to make $19.7 million in restitution to the four tribes he defrauded, in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Michigan. All of the tribes had sought lobbying help in Washington for their gambling operations." [USA Today, 11/21/05]
Former White House Official David Safavian Convicted In Abramoff Probe. "A federal jury in Washington, D.C., convicted David H. Safavian, the former chief of staff for the General Services Administration (GSA), of obstructing a GSA proceeding and making false statements, Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division announced today. The jury convicted Safavian today of four charges stemming from an October 2005 indictment, following an eight-day trial and four days of jury deliberation. The jury found that from May 16, 2002 until January 2004, Safavian made false statements and obstructed investigations into his relationship with former Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The investigations focused on whether Safavian, the chief of staff at the GSA from May 2002 until January 2004, aided Abramoff in his attempts to acquire GSA-controlled property in and around Washington, D.C. In August 2002, Abramoff took Safavian and others on a golf trip to Scotland." [US DOJ Press Release, 6/20/06]
DeLay Stepped Down After Being Indicted. "Rep. Tom DeLay stepped aside Wednesday as House majority leader after a Texas grand jury indicted him on a conspiracy charge stemming from a long-running campaign finance investigation. ... A grand jury in Austin charged DeLay, 58, and two associates already facing criminal charges with a single count of criminal conspiracy, accusing them of improperly funneling corporate donations to Republican candidates for the Texas legislature. If convicted, DeLay could face up to two years in prison and fines up to $10,000, Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle said." [CNN.com, 9/29/05]