Report: Staffer Who Got Gifts From Team Abramoff Was Gregg Aide

February 4, 2009 9:50 a.m.

Last week, when Todd Boulanger pleaded guilty to his role in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, he cited a Staffer F in his plea. That staffer had received tickets to hockey and baseball games (with champagne and filet mignon provided, in the latter case) from Boulanger and Team Abramoff.

And today the Associated Press reports that Staffer F is Kevin Koonce, a former legislative director for New Hampshire GOP senator Judd Gregg.

Koonce, who has not been charged with a crime, now works at a private firm, Sorini Samet & Associates. But he told the AP he’s on personal leave. Another staffer who received similar favors from Team Abramoff, Trevor Blackann, pleaded guilty last fall to failing to disclose the gifts on his tax returns.

Gregg was announced yesterday as President Obama’s pick for Commerce Secretary.
Asked about that inconvenient fact by a reporter just now at a press briefing, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs stressed that Gregg is not a target of the investigation, and that Koonce left Gregg’s office in 2004.

Some good details from the AP’s rundown:

As part of the plea documents, prosecutors said Staffer F tried to help insert spending measures and add other amendments to legislation for Boulanger’s clients. Later, the staffer asked Boulanger if he could “score some hockey tickets,” and Boulanger got him front-row seats.

Boulanger later got the staffer box tickets to see the Baltimore Orioles, but he wanted more.

“Could you make sure there’s beer this time,” he wrote in an e-mail. I “mean, the red sox, crab cakes, and fillet mignon’s were nice but … haha.”

Later, Boulanger sent an e-mail to Abramoff expressing confidence that the senator for whom the staffer worked would give them a favor. “Easy money,” Boulanger wrote, adding that the aide “practically lives in our various suites. We are shady.”

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