Tuesday, May 03, 2005
"Our friend" - Bob Ney!
The Ney/Abramoff soap opera continues. Not that Abramoff's word about anything should be taken seriously, but this piece from Michael Crowley's story in the NYT Sunday Magazine suggests he and Ney were close and that he is madder about Ney than DeLay:
Abramoff planned to slip a provision granting the Tiguas gaming rights into a bipartisan election-reform bill before Congress. He turned to an old Republican friend, Representative Bob Ney of Ohio. On March 20, 2002, he sent Scanlon good news: "just met with Ney!!! We're [expletive] gold!!!! He's going to do Tigua." A few days later, Abramoff sent Schwartz an e-mail message asking for $32,000 in donations to Ney's campaign fund and political action committee - "asap."
In June, Abramoff sent Schwartz an e-mail message with a new request: "our friend asked if we could help (as in cover) a Scotland golf trip for him and some staff . . . for August. The trip will be quite expensive (we did this for another member -- you know who) 2 years ago. I anticipate that the total cost -- if he brings 3-4 members and wives -- would be around $100K or more." (Schwartz later testified before a Senate committee that Ney was "our friend" and that Abramoff told him that "you know who" was DeLay. Records show that DeLay did, in fact, travel to Scotland in 2000, accompanied by Abramoff as well as his wife and two top aides.)
Abramoff told the Tiguas that Ney "would probably do the trip through the Capital Athletic Foundation as an educational mission" and asked them for a donation to the foundation, a charity Abramoff had founded ostensibly to support youth athletics. That August, Ney traveled to Scotland with Reed. (Eventually, money from other Abramoff clients paid for the trip.) In a disclosure form, Ney -- who now says he was "duped" and "misled" by "these two nefarious individuals" -- would report that the purpose of his trip was to give a speech to Scottish parliamentarians, attend an Edinburgh military ceremony and visit the British Parliament.
Abramoff's plans came to naught, however. In a July 25, 2002, e-mail message to Scanlon, he explained how Senator Chris Dodd, the Connecticut Democrat thought to be supporting them, had let him down: "I just spoke with Ney who met today with Dodd on the bill and raised our provision. Dodd looked at him like a deer in headlights and said he never made such a commitment and that, with the problems of new casinos in Connecticut, it is a problem!!! Mike, please call me immediately to tell me how we wired this, or were supposed to wire it. Ney feels we left him out to dry. Please call me!!!"
[. . . ]
Oddly, however, Abramoff seemed most passionate about the notion that he had failed to get what he wanted. He blames Ney and Dodd, whose recent claims of ignorance about the details of his Tigua lobbying, he said, are bogus. "We would have succeeded but for Chris Dodd, who said yes - and then all of a sudden, he changed!" Here he was practically pleading with me: "He changed!"
But he reserved special scorn for his old friend - ex-friend - Bob Ney. Abramoff said that Ney was deeply involved in the lobbying effort and that any claims otherwise are untrue. He singles out a meeting and a long conference call Ney conducted with Tigua leaders in which he assured them that he would help. "Ney told the press, 'I was duped'? It's crazy!" He turned up his palms, again with the pleading look in his eyes. "He was on the phone for an hour and a half!" (A spokesman for Ney, Brian Walsh, said that Ney only considered the Tigua provision when he heard it had Dodd's support. "After Congressman Ney spoke to Senator Dodd and found that Jack Abramoff was lying, no further action was taken," Walsh said. Dodd has issued a statement saying he never supported the provision, a contention supported by the testimony at the Indian Affairs hearing.)