Saturday, November 19, 2005

Abramoff Partner Charged with Conspiracy

Michael Scanlon, a former aide to Rep. Tom DeLay whose public relations firm worked closely with lobbyist Jack Abramoff, is named in a criminal information of conspiracy to defraud Indian tribes that were Abramoff's clients by making secret payments to Abramoff from fees paid by the tribes.  The information also notes that Scanlon and "Lobbyist A" provided a number of things of value to "Representative No. 1" related to passing legislation that would assist the tribal clients.  An AP story (here) states that an attorney for Ohio Rep. Bob Ney has acknowledged that he is the Representative discussed in the information, but that the Congressman is a "victim" who was "misled" by Scanlon and Lobbyist A.  Somehow, it's a little hard to view an elected official who permits himself to be wined, dined, and showered with gifts as a "victim," but then this is Capitol Hill, where poor Congressman are always being preyed upon by lobbyists.

The government's filing of a single-count information usually indicates that the defendant is cooperating in the investigation, and a hearing is set for Nov. 21 at which Scanlon is likely to enter a guilty plea.  While Rep. Ney's attorney denies that his client is a target of the investigation, the fall-out from Abramoff's lobbying seems to be spreading. (ph)

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