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4/21/2006 

Court filing in case of indicted Bush official suggests Ohio congressman provided false report to Congress

Raw Story, April 21, 2006:
A pre-trial motion filed by federal prosecutors in the case of indicted former Bush Administration official David Safavian contends that his share of the costs in a trip to play golf in Scotland and England arranged by convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff should have been nearly five times more than what he paid, RAW STORY has found.

Perhaps more significantly, however, it also provides the first formal evidence that powerful Ohio Republican Bob Ney – then chairman of the House Administration Committee – provided false figures for the cost of his own trip to Scotland. Ney has been under fire for his role in allegedly helping Abramoff aid his clients in violation of House ethics rules and possibly federal laws.

[...]

In addition to likely misreporting its true cost, Ney also listed the sponsor of the trip as the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative thinktank. It later emerged that the trip was paid for by Abramoff’s Capital Athletic Foundation. Members of Congress are prohibited from taking trips paid for by lobbyists.

Ney also appears to have lied about the purpose of the trip. "In April, 2002, I was approached by Mr. Abramoff, who I believed to be a respected member of the community, and asked to go on a trip to Scotland which Mr. Abramoff said would help support a charitable organization, that he founded, through meetings he organized with Scottish Parliament officials," Ney said in a statement last November.

In his financial disclosure report to Congress, Ney listed "speech to Scottish Parliamentarians" as a purpose of the trip. Newsweek's Michael Isikoff later revealed that there was no record of Ney’s speech and that the Scottish parliament was away on recess during the time of the junket.

On September 9, 2002, a month after returning from the trip, Ney filed a form with the Clerk of the House of the Representatives which indicated that his share of the trip was $3200. He reported $1,500 for travel, $1,200 for lodging and $500 for meal expenses.

According to the prosecutors’ estimate, Ney likely should have reported the trip at $15,000. Ney's office did not respond to a call placed for comment Friday.

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