News and articles relating to the scandal surrounding Washington D.C. lobbyist Jack Abramoff

Friday, March 31, 2006

Abramoff Fallout Finds Former DeLay Staffer - Los Angeles Times

By Richard B. Schmitt
Times Staff Writer

11:04 AM PST, March 31, 2006

WASHINGTON — The former deputy chief of staff for Texas Republican Tom DeLay pleaded guilty today in the widening influence-peddling scandal surrounding fallen lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Tony Rudy, 39, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Washington to a single charge of conspiracy in connection with the scandal, admitting that he violated the law while a top aide to DeLay and after he left the government to work for Abramoff.

Rudy admitted to corruptly accepting things of value from Abramoff and others, including $86,000 in cash, tickets to sporting events and golf trips. Among the perquisites: an all-expenses-paid junket to the 2000 U.S. Open golf tournament. The gifts were in exchange for a number of official acts for Abramoff clients, including advising members of Congress to vote against legislation limiting gambling on the Internet, the former aide acknowledged.

Rudy, who worked for DeLay from 1995 through December 2000, left government to join forces with Abramoff at a Washington-based law and lobbying firm, where the illegal conspiracy continued, according to his plea agreement with prosecutors. The court papers described a pattern of lavishing gifts and outings on a member of Congress identified as "Representative #1," including a trip to Scotland in August 2002 that involved golf, "drinking and smoking Cubans," the papers said.

The agreement is the third secured by prosecutors tunneling into the congressional bribery scandal surrounding Abramoff, who was sentenced to 70 months in prison by a federal judge in Miami on Wednesday in connection with a separate fraud scheme. The former lobbyist has also pleaded guilty to conspiracy and fraud charges in connection with his lobbying work in Washington but has yet to be sentenced.

Rudy faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, but his sentence is likely to be reduced because of an agreement he has made to cooperate with the Justice Department in the ongoing investigation.

His guilty plea signals trouble for Ohio Republican Rep. Bob Ney, who was not named in the plea agreement, but who took a golf trip to Scotland with Abramoff and Rudy in August 2002.

The plea agreement contains no allegations that DeLay, described in the papers as "Representative #2," did anything wrong.

Through their lawyers, Ney and DeLay have denied any wrongdoing.


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