Wednesday, November 30, 2005

 

Pryce and Ney - part II

In our post below we note that Deb Pryce had lent her name to tomorrow's fundraiser for Bob Ney, but has already announced that she is going to be a no-show.

Let us not forget that there are two lines of thinking about the congresswoman's connections to Abramoff. As explained by the Dispatch (with assistance from the PD) a few weeks ago, there is the "We wouldn't touch him with a ten-foot pole defense."
Abramoff has been "no friend of this office," Pryce said. "We think he is a creep and we hate him."
Then again, as the paper notes, there's an equally plausible proposal that Deb is pumps-deep in the Indian gaming scams.
The Plain Dealer, of Cleveland, reported yesterday that an anonymous Indian affairs committee aide said investigators think the letter from Pryce, as well as separate letters from other GOP leaders such as House Speaker Dennis Hastert, were actually authored by Abramoff and his employees.
Now keep in mind that this article was written by the hack-a-rrific Jonathan Riskind who has been the last one to the party every time there is a new development in the Ney case. Riskind lets Pryce off the hook with this gauzey explanation.
Pryce said as a GOP leader she often sends letters pushing for local issues on behalf of other lawmakers.
Oh yeah? Give us a similar example, Deb.

Based on Riskind's story, alone, one might think that the case against Pryce was interesting but perhaps a little weak. The problem is that the PD's Sabrina Eaton - a pretty crusty and hardworking reporter in our experience - suggested in a story published two days before Riskind's story that Pryce had some serious explaining to do:
On Wednesday [Nov. 2 - ed.], the Senate Indian Affairs Committee released material it obtained from Abramoff's former employer, the Greenberg Traurig lobbying firm, that included a letter Pryce wrote to Interior Secretary Gale Norton about a Louisiana casino proposal.

The Sept. 12, 2003, letter from Pryce, the No. 4 Republican in the House, insisted that approving a casino proposed by the Jena Band of Choctaw Indians would "set forth a dangerous precedent" and encourage "reservation shopping" by tribes.

Republican Whip Roy Blunt signed a similar letter to Norton dated May 21, 2003. A third letter, dated June 10, 2003, was signed by Blunt, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, Majority Leader Tom DeLay, and Republican Chief Deputy Whip Eric Cantor. Identical wording appears in all three letters.

An aide to Senate Indian Affairs Committee chairman John McCain said investigators believe the letters were authored by Abramoff and his employees and signed by the congressmen.

. . .

Federal Election Commission records compiled by PoliticalMoneyLine indicate that Pryce's Promoting Republicans You Can Elect political action committee got $8,000 in donations from Abramoff's Indian gambling clients from 2002 through 2004.
(emphasis added)
Wouldn't you think a serious reporter who had a chance to interview Pryce after Eaton broke her story might want to at least ask her to explain the duplicate letters and the above mentioned donations from Abramoff clients. Wouldn't you at least try to get her on the record about how she reconciles hating his creepiness but not his cash? But - hey - that's vintage Riskind for you.

With the grand jury suddenly making appointments with Ney, we suppose that Pryce may be in a little bit of a pickle with Bob. One just never knows what deals someone is liable to make when testifying without your lawyer by your side, and one must cover all her bases. Our guess is that when it came to Bob's fundraiser, she suddenly found herself in a good ole' fashion can't-live-with-him-and-can't-live-without-him situation.

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