Saturday, September 16, 2006

Rep. Ney Admits Selling Influence

Rep. Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio) agreed yesterday to plead guilty to corruption charges after admitting to performing a variety of official acts for lobbyists in exchange for campaign contributions, expensive meals, luxury travel, sports tickets and thousands of dollars in gambling chips. He is the first elected official to face prison time in the ongoing influence-peddling investigation of former GOP lobbying powerhouse Jack Abramoff.

After fiercely proclaiming his innocence for more than a year, Ney signed a two-count plea agreement Wednesday that the Justice Department filed in federal court yesterday. The charges of conspiracy and making a false statement could carry a prison sentence of up to 10 years, but prosecutors plan to seek a term of 27 months. He faces up to $500,000 in fines.

The six-term Republican said in a statement yesterday that he was seeking treatment for alcoholism and was sorry for "serious mistakes" that have brought pain to his family and constituents. He is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Washington on Oct. 13 to formally enter his plea.

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