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Congressman Linked to Abramoff Is No Stranger to Lobbyists

LA Times, January 22, 2006:
Congressman Bob Ney was a long way from the cracked brick streets and ragged neighborhoods of his Rust Belt hometown when he teed off on the fabled golf course at St. Andrews, Scotland, in the summer of 2002.

But there was nothing unusual about his cozy ties with the Washington lobbyist who helped arrange his tee time. The Ohio Republican has a history of close relations with lobbyists and special interests that predate golf partner Jack Abramoff.

In his quarter-century as a state legislator and U.S. representative, Ney, 51, has demonstrated a talent for turning such political connections into opportunities for gifts, travel and other forms of personal gain, records and interviews show.

So far, Ney is the only member of Congress directly linked to allegations that Abramoff traded such gifts as the golf outing for legislative favors. He is identified simply as "Representative #1" in a Jan. 3 plea agreement between Abramoff and federal prosecutors.

Years before Ney came to Washington, however, he began accepting honorariums, in the form of personal checks, and travel from lobbyists and business interests when he served in the Ohio Legislature in the 1980s and '90s.