Sunday, December 04, 2005

 

Mystery still about who attended Ney fundraiser

From the Dispatch:
Despite Ney’s problems, GOP colleagues and lobbyists stood by him at a fundraiser Thursday at the Columbus Athletic Club. Ney, accompanied by his wife, Elizabeth, barred a Dispatch reporter and photographer from entering, complaining that the media have unfairly targeted and indicted him.

"We’ve said all we’re going to say about this," Ney said, declining to answer questions.
Unfortunately the story fails to mention any of the "GOP colleagues and lobbyists" - information that could have been gathered by just standing outside.

The article, nominally written by Riskind, Torry and Hallett feels like it 80% Hallett and 20% by the winkin'-and-blinkin' duo that staff the Dispatch's DC office. Once you get passed the, "Gee, that's not the Bob Ney I knew back in Bellaire" stuff in this piece, the story advances one point that needs to be remembered: Ney was not a virgin in the Ohio legislature when it came to lobbyists with money and deals to discuss.
Even before the current federal investigation, Ney has been on the periphery of ethics scandals. As a state senator from 1984 through 1994, Ney "always had a cloud" over him, one former Senate Republican colleague said, recalling a bribery scandal in the 1990s. Ney had been in Congress three years when two of his former top Senate aides went to jail as felons, including Thomas Strussion, a high-school football star from Ney’s hometown of Bellaire.

After working a few years for Ney, chairman of the Senate insurance committee, Strussion opened a lobbying business and was signing up major insurance interests. Within three years he owned homes in exclusive areas of Columbus and Arizona, drove expensive cars and frequented Zeno’s and other Columbus nightclubs, often accompanied by Ney, whose 12-year marriage to his first wife, Candy Sue, was dissolved in 1996.
For our part, we always wondered during his Statehouse days how Bobby boy kept the perpetual tan. Not in Bellaire, for sure.

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