Tuesday, January 03, 2006

 

Happy Ney Year! [Updated]

Hi kids. Hope everyone had a nice vacation. And how about those Buckeyes?

Ah, but we digress. . .

Back to business now, and it's truly starting out to be a Happy Ney Year. The shit hasn't quite hit the fan yet, but the turd bags are just microns from the twirlin' blades. It appears from today's allegations agreement that Bobby boy won't be the only one of Abramoff's pol buddies to ultimately face charges, but our guess is that he will be the first elected official to do the frog walk.

Interestingly, today's documents make valuable reference to the Affaire de Ney that has gotten the least attention: the Capitol wireless scam:
21. In 2001, defendant ABRAMOFF successfully solicited a wireless telephone company ("Wireless Company") to make at least $50,000 in payments to CAF. In exchange for making the payments to this entity, defendant ABRAMOFF stated that no lobbying payments need be made to Firm B, and that defendant ABRAMOFF would undertake a lobbying effort to assist Wireless Company in securing a license to install wireless telephone infrastructure for the United States House of Representatives. In 2001 and early 2002, defendant ABRAMOFF and his Firm B colleagues lobbied for the Wireless Company without any formal retainer agreement or any payments to Firm B. At no time did defendant ABRAMOFF inform his employer, Firm B, of the payments totaling $50,000 to CAF that were diverted from Firm B.
Then the agreement goes on to describe the "stream of things of value" Abramoff provided to a "Member of the United States House of Representatives" including the infamous Scotland golf trip plus sports tickets, other entertainment, free meals at Abramoff's Signatures restaurant and various campaign donations to Ney plus ones made to others on behalf of Ney.

The agreement continues by describing the work Ney did in exchange for the "stream of things of value" such as the well-known Congressional Record statements regarding the SunCruz venture. The agreement also denotes that part of the deal also his efforts in
. . . advancing the application of a client of defendant ABRAMOFF for a license to install wireless telephone infrastructure in the House of Representatives.
For those that haven't been following the "wireless" issue, below is a brief synopsis, and for those interested, there is a longer version in this story from last April in The Hill.

The wireless story primarily involves two companies, LGC and MobileAccess Networks (nee Foxcom Wireless), one politician and his former staffer-turned-lobbyist (Ney and Neil Volz) and one superlobbyist (Abramoff).

The first thing to understand is that the road to major improvements to the Capitol runs directly through Ney who, as chair of House Administration Committee, is fairly accurately dubbed the "Mayor of Capitol Hill."

Back around 2000, LGC had the inside track to improve wireless communications in the Capitol, but suddenly faced stiff competition from the relatively unknown MobileAccess. LGC was an experienced contractor with a successful string of high profile wireless installations, while MobileAccess was something of an upstart. LGC had the right technology and security specs and seemed a shoo-in until the brakes were put on the decision-making after big time lobbyists got involved. From The Hill's article:
The Washington Post reported that MobileAccess donated $50,000 to the Capital Athletic Foundation, which was run by Abramoff, in 2001. Two years later, MobileAccess paid Greenberg Traurig, Abramoff’s former employer, $240,000 in lobbying fees.
So, you start to see how today's agreement and past news stories start to line up.

Anyhow, once Abramoff get's involved, Ney reworked the criteria for choosing the vendor (discarding the first merit-based approach) to one that favored MobileAccess.

This is pay-to-play defined. Clear. Simple. Corrupt. Bye bye Bobby.

[Update] The Ohio Dems are calling on Ney to give up his unofficial mayorship and give up his committee chair.

Also, the Dispatch's DC steno corps posted a story late this afternoon.

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