Tuesday, January 3, 2006
With former lobbyist Jack Abramoff entering a guilty plea to corruption and tax evasion charges in Washington, D.C., attention now turns to who will be next in the Department of Justice's burgeoning investigation. In addition to "Representative #1" -- already identified as Ohio Rep. Bob Ney in the earlier criminal information of Abramoff partner Michael Scanlon -- a former chief of staff for Rep. Ney is also identified in the criminal charges, this time with the moniker "Staffer B," as having potentially violated 18 U.S.C. Sec. 207 for contacting the Congressman on behalf of Abramoff prior to the expiration of the one-year bar on such contacts. Neil Volz served as chief of staff for Rep. Ney before being hired by Abramoff (see Raw Story article here). If Volz were to cooperate in the government's investigation, I suspect it will only be a matter of time before Rep. Ney -- who has already been informed he is a target of the grand jury investigation -- is indicted or enters into a plea agreement of his own. While Rep. Ney's attorney continues to assert that Abramoff duped his client, each new plea agreement gets a step closer to the Congressman.
Interestingly, the 18th Congressional District represented by Rep. Ney elected former House Administration Committee Chairman Wayne Hays for over twenty years until his "relationship" with Elizabeth Ray on his Committee staff came to light in 1974, leading to his resignation. It's that whole "circle of life" thing, I guess. A Chicago Tribune story (here) catalogs a number of scandals in Ohio politics in the past few decades, including those from the 18th District. (ph)