Former Rep. Ernest Istook (R-OK) says he was "as surprised and as shocked as anyone" to learn that his former chief of staff pleaded guilty yesterday in Jack Abramoff's lobbying ring.
The Washington Post reports
"I have not seen the charges and I have no information about them," said Istook, who left the House to launch an unsuccessful bid for governor of Oklahoma in 2006. He is now a fellow at the Heritage Foundation. "I have met with the FBI. They did not share any details about the case, but they told me I am not a target of their investigation. I will continue to cooperate with them fully."
That's interesting, since prosecutors say Istook, the former chairman of the appropriations subcommitee for transportation, got on the phone
with Jack Abramoff and, according to Abramoff, "basically asked what we want in the transportation bill."
A preliminary analysis
by Taxpayers for Common Sense found at least six of Abramoff's firm's clients received earmarks from the 2004 transportation appropriations bill, which was written by Istook's subcommittee.