TPM News

According to lawyers for Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH), who has admitted to a slew of corrupt activities while in office, the congressman has already entered an alcohol rehabilitation facility. Via the Hotline, a statement from Mark H. Tuohey III and William E. Lawler III:

Congressman Ney accepts responsibility for his actions, and we hope that the treatment he has begun will enable him and his family to face the future in a healthy and productive way.

Rep. Bob Ney's (R-OH) statement on his guilty plea:

As shown in papers filed in court, I have reached an agreement to bring the government’s investigation of me to an end. The agreement will enable me to accept responsibility for what I have done, to start repairing the damage I have caused and to start healing my family.

I have made serious mistakes and am sorry for them. I am very sorry for the pain I have caused to my family, my constituents in Ohio and my colleagues.

I know that this plea agreement will probably forever change the way people view my public service. I regret this very much because I hope and believe that I have helped people through my work, and I hope that someday the good I have tried to do will be measured along side the mistakes I have made.

These have been difficult times, and I appreciate more than I can describe the support, encouragement and friendship that people from inside and outside my District have given to me and my family over the past months. I have gone through a great deal of soul searching recently, and I have come to recognize that a dependence on alcohol has been a problem for me. I am not making any excuses, and I take full responsibility for my actions. Over the years, I have worked to help others, but now I am the one that needs help. I am seeking professional help for this problem I am hopeful that with counseling, time and the support of my family and friends, I will be able to deal with my dependency.

A release just out from the Justice Department states that Ney's is a two count plea, and he's pleading to bad doings beyond Jack Abramoff.

This section in particular caught my eye:

In his plea agreement, Ney also admitted to charges that he had accepted thousands of dollars worth of gambling chips from a foreign businessman. According to the documents filed today in court, in February 2003 and again in August 2003, Ney made two trips to London, during each of which he and members of his staff met with a foreign businessman who was hoping to sell U.S.-made airplanes and airplane parts in a foreign country. Ney agreed to help the businessman with obtaining an exemption to the U.S. laws prohibiting the sale of these goods to the foreign country, and Ney also agreed to help the businessman obtain a visa to travel to the United States. On February 21 and 22 and again on August 29, Ney and the staff members accompanying him each received thousands of dollars worth of gambling chips from the businessman for use at private casinos in London. As a result, Ney eventually pocketed more than $50,000. Ney admitted that he never returned any of the free chips to the businessman and never shared with the businessman any of the money he had won as a result of the free chips.

The whole release follows. We'll have the docs up soon.

Update: Although the charges to which Ney has pled amount to a 10 year max sentence, his cooperation has lowered that to 2 years, 3 months.

Update: Here are the facts that Ney is pleading to, which you can also read about below.

Read More →

CNN's running the following banner on their site:

Republican Rep. Bob Ney of Ohio has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and making false statements as part of a deal in which he will cooperate with an influence peddling investigation, the Justice Department said.

So he will cooperate. More soon.

TPM Reader DM:

pretty much everyone who pleads guilty does so as part of some sort of deal, so i wonder, what were the terms of the deal? more broadly, assuming there was a deal, i wonder what motivated the prosecutors to offer ney a deal.

prosecutors offer plea deals for any number of reasons – resources, strength of their case, etc. the conventional wisdom is that bribery is notoriously difficult to prove. so maybe the prosecutors gave ney a deal because they didn’t want to roll the dice at trial. but the state does have four cooperating witnesses as well as pretty compelling circumstantial evidence.

which leads me to wonder. do you think prosecutors gave ney a deal for other reasons? in particular, is it possible ney is cooperating as well? if so, who might be the target?

Again, to see what prosecutors had in their arsenal, here's our primer on Ney.

The Justice Department has announced that Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher will be making a statement on a "public corruption case" at 10:30 AM. Justin's headed down to attend. More soon.

So Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) -- once known to Jack Abramoff and his lobbying team as "our friend," now known to federal prosecutors as "Legislator #1" -- is finally pleading guilty this morning, according to news accounts.

We'll be all over the event and its repercussions like CNN on a blonde's disappearance. But first -- a look back, to our favorite moments with Bob Ney:

July 28, 2006: When federal prosecutors subpoena one of his aides, Ney suggests they're trying to throw his upcoming election. "[D]on’t you find it unusual that after 17 months that the Justice Department all of the sudden, 120 days before the election, subpoenas a staffer. They could have called him within the last 17 months. I’ll leave it right at that. I find it very unusual.” (Ney has since dropped out of the race.)

June 9, 2006: Ney angrily emails a reporter for his story about a junket Ney improperly reported. "Let me tell you paul-last week you did not call us for comment ‘you were under deadline.' . . . Print the same story-change it to reprint the same story-people in new philly – d’s and r’s call it ‘elk’s politics.’ . . . Please-please-print this paul-you don’t care about ohio-i am sick of your crap. You are a d c person who couldn’t find ohio unless we gave you a map. You don’t give two shoots about our people."

April 20, 2006: Ney spokesman Brian Walsh told us, "Frankly, it's an unfortunate commentary on the justice system that someone has to spend a lot of money simply to clear their name. . . . in what is in this case completely false allegations." (Walsh has retained his own counsel in the matter; he resigned from Ney's office in June.)

May 8, 2006: Again, Walsh: "[T]he congressman is more confident than ever that he will be vindicated in this matter. . . . the congressman will not under any circumstances plead guilty to a crime he did not commit" -- in retrospect, a rather clever denial -- "Congressman Ney has said from day one that he has done absolutely nothing illegal, improper or unethical."

Jan. 15, 2006: Facing a growing scandal and pressure from GOP leadership, Ney resigns his chairmanship of the House Administration Committee. "I want to assure my colleagues and my constituents that I have done absolutely nothing wrong and I am convinced that I will be vindicated completely at the end of this difficult process," he says defiantly.

"[O]nce these false allegations have been put to rest, and I have the full confidence that they will be, I look forward to resuming the chair for the rest of my appointed term and continuing the important work of the committee," Ney declared that day. Alas, his spot on that panel appears to be gone forever. But he'll always be the chairman of a small place in our hearts.

Bob -- Thanks for the memories.

Ney Expected to Plead Guilty Today " Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, has agreed to plead guilty to federal criminal charges related to his dealings with the corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff, lawyers and others with knowledge of the investigation said Thursday.

A guilty plea would make Ney, a six-term congressman, the first member of Congress to confess to criminal charges in the Abramoff investigation, which has focused on the actions of several current and former Republican lawmakers who had been close to the former lobbyist." (NY Times News Service)

Read More →

The Washington Post confirms that the Pentagon general counsel spent several hours "cajoling" top military lawyers into weakening their opposition to a White House-backed detainee treatment proposal -- and at least one senator wants to hold a hearing on the incident:

[T]he [Judge Advocates General's] letter was signed only after an extraordinary round of negotiations Wednesday between the judge advocates and William J. Haynes II, the Defense Department's general counsel, according to Republican opponents of Bush's proposal. The military lawyers refused to sign a letter of endorsement. But after hours of cajoling, they assented to write that they "do not object," according to three Senate GOP sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were divulging private negotiations.

[Sen. Lindsey] Graham [R-SC], a former Air Force judge advocate general, promised to summon the lawyers to a committee hearing and to ask for an explanation of the circumstances surrounding the letter.

Comments by Sen. John Warner (R-VA) this afternoon fuel speculation over whether and how the Bush administration pressured JAGs to reverse position on torture, on the eve of a crucial vote -- and what his panel intends to do about it.

The Armed Services Committee chairman made the statements after his panel passed his bill to constrain the detention, interrogation and prosecution of terror suspects in U.S. custody, a blow to the White House's agenda. Emphasis added:

QUESTION: A lot of what you put together is based on testimony by and large from the JAG.


QUESTION: A letter was sent, though, that would seem to be counter to your position.

WARNER: On its face, that is true, but there are further aspects to that letter that the committee needs to explore, and we will do so.

QUESTION: Can you clarify what you mean by that...

WARNER: Beg your pardon?

QUESTION: Can you clarify what you mean by that; "further aspects of the letter that you want to explore"?

WARNER: No. It's just that a senator has information that needs to be brought to the attention of the committee as it reviews the letter from the JAG.

QUESTION: What is that information?

WARNER: Beg your pardon?

QUESTION: What is that information?

WARNER: Until I get it, I can't explain it.