WASHINGTON – Former Congressman Robert W. Ney has been sentenced to 30 months in prison to be followed by two years of supervised release and fined $6,000, Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division announced today.
Ney, 52, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, before Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle, who also ordered the defendant to serve 100 hours of community service for each year of supervised release.
Ney pleaded guilty on October 13, 2006, to a two-count information charging him with conspiracy to commit multiple offenses – including honest services fraud, making false statements, and violations of his former chief of staff’s one-year lobbying ban – and with making false statements to the U.S. House of Representatives. The named co-conspirators in the charges to which Ney pleaded guilty include Jack Abramoff, Michael Scanlon, Tony Rudy, and Ney’s former chief of staff Neil Volz. All have previously pleaded guilty in this investigation and are cooperating with law enforcement officials.
“Today’s sentence makes it clear that our government is not for sale. Former Congressman Ney now faces 30 months in prison for abusing his position of trust as a representative of the American people,” said Assistant Attorney General Fisher. “The Justice Department will continue to pursue and prosecute public officials who compromise the integrity of elected office for private benefit.”
“The foundation of good government rests on the leap of faith Americans take that our public officials act in our interests. When an elected official violates that faith through the illegal exploitation of public office for personal gain, confidence in government suffers,” said Assistant Director Chip Burrus of the Criminal Investigative Division, FBI. “Most public servants are law abiding and honest and I want to emphasize that point, but when an official chooses to sell his integrity as we see here today, the FBI stands ready to work with our partners and restore the confidence in government to which Americans are entitled.”
Ney was a Congressman representing the 18th District of Ohio from 1995 through the present. In 2001, Ney became chairman of the House Committee on Administration, a position he held until January 2006. Ney admitted that he engaged in a conspiracy beginning in approximately 2000 and continuing through April 2004, wherein he corruptly solicited and accepted a stream of things of value from Abramoff, Abramoff’s lobbyists, and a foreign businessman, in exchange for agreeing to take and taking official action to benefit Abramoff, his clients, and the foreign businessman.
Specifically, Ney admitted that he corruptly solicited and accepted things of value from Abramoff and his lobbyists – including international and domestic trips, meals and drinks, concert and sporting tickets and tens of thousands of dollars of campaign contributions and in-kind contributions such as free fundraisers – with the intent to be influenced and induced to take official actions. Ney admitted that the actions he agreed to take, and took, to benefit Abramoff, his lobbyists and their clients, included opposing legislation at Abramoff’s request, the insertion of statements into the Congressional Record at Scanlon’s request, and supporting an application of a license for a contract to install wireless telephone infrastructure in the House of Representatives.
Ney also admitted that he accepted tens of thousands of dollars worth of gambling chips from a foreign businessman who was hoping to sell U.S.-made airplanes and airplane parts in a foreign country. Ney agreed to help the businessman with obtaining an exemption to the U.S. laws prohibiting the sale of these goods to the foreign country and with obtaining a visa to travel to the United States. Ney also admitted conspiring to aid and abet violations of the federal one-year lobbying ban by his former chief of staff Neil Volz. This case was prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Mary K. Butler, M. Kendall Day and James A. Crowell IV of the Public Integrity Section. The case was investigated by a task force of federal agents including special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of the Interior Office of the Inspector General, the General Services Administration Office of the Inspector General, and the Criminal Investigation branch of the Internal Revenue Service. The investigation has received assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida. The broader investigation into the lobbying activities of Jack Abramoff is being conducted by federal agents from the above-named agencies as well as prosecutors in the Public Integrity and Fraud Sections of the Criminal Division and prosecutors in the Criminal Tax Section of the Tax Division.