WASHINGTON – A former congressional staffer pleaded guilty today to conspiring with others to commit honest services fraud, Acting Assistant Attorney General Rita M. Glavin of the Criminal Division announced.
Ann Copland, 52, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard W. Roberts in the District of Columbia. According to the factual basis filed with the court, Copland worked on the staff of a U.S. senator from 1979 until 2008. From 2002 through 2004, Copland worked as an assistant on legislative and administrative matters, particularly those legislative matters involving Native American tribes.
In her plea agreement, Copland admitted being lobbied by Jack Abramoff, Todd Boulanger and another lobbyist on matters involving a Native American tribe located in Mississippi. Copland admitted that she took and agreed to take a variety of official actions beneficial to the lobbyists and their clients, including the Mississippi tribe, at the request of Abramoff, Boulanger and others, based in part on the fact that she was receiving and wanted to continue receiving thousands of dollars in tickets to concerts, sports and other entertainment events, from the lobbyists. Specifically, Copland admitted to receiving more than $25,000 worth of tickets, meals and drinks from March 2002 through May 2004, during which time she understood that the lobbyists were giving her those things of value in order to influence her in the performance of her official actions.
The case is part of the ongoing investigation into the activities of former lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his associates. Boulanger pleaded guilty on Jan. 30, 2009, for his role in the scheme. Nineteen individuals, including lobbyists and public officials, have pleaded guilty or are awaiting trial as a result of the investigation, including Abramoff, who was sentenced in September 2008 to 48 months in prison.
This case is being prosecuted by trial attorneys M. Kendall Day and Peter C. Sprung of the Public Integrity Section, headed by Section Chief William M. Welch II. The investigation is being conducted by the FBI.