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Corruption: Another Abramoff-related lobbyist pleads guilty.

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The Senate this week declined to pass a tough package of ethics and lobbying reform, favoring a watered-down package instead. The House is working on its version of the same legislation.....with that in mind, read on....
This just in from the Justice Department..

WASHINGTON - Former lobbyist Tony C. Rudy pleaded guilty to conspiring with Jack Abramoff, Michael Scanlon and others to commit honest services fraud, mail and wire fraud, and a violation of conflict of interest post-employment restrictions, Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division announced today.

WWW.USDOJ.GOV

FORMER LOBBYIST TONY RUDY PLEADS GUILTY TO

CORRUPTION AND FRAUD CONSPIRACY

WASHINGTON - Former lobbyist Tony C. Rudy pleaded guilty to conspiring with Jack Abramoff, Michael Scanlon and others to commit honest services fraud, mail and wire fraud, and a violation of conflict of interest post-employment restrictions, Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division announced today.

Rudy, 39, entered his plea today in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia before Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle. Under the terms of a plea agreement, Rudy faces up to five years in prison, a fine of $250,000, mandatory restitution estimated to be approximately $100,000 as well as supervised release following his incarceration. Rudy has agreed to cooperate with law enforcement officials in the ongoing investigation. Rudy's named co-conspirators, Jack Abramoff and Michael Scanlon, previously pled guilty in this investigation, and are also cooperating with law enforcement officials.

"The American public loses when officials and lobbyists conspire to buy and sell influence in such a corrupt and brazen manner," said Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division. "By his admission in open court today, Mr. Rudy paints a picture of Washington which the American public and law enforcement will simply not tolerate."

According to the plea agreement signed by Rudy, from 1995 through December 2000, he was employed in the leadership office of a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, described as Representative #2. In December 2000, Rudy left the leadership office. He joined Abramoff in January 2001 in the Washington, D.C., office of a law and lobbying firm, where he worked until late July 2002. Beginning in 1997 and continuing throughout his time as the deputy chief of staff in Representative #2's leadership office, Rudy corruptly accepted a stream of things of value from Abramoff and others while he repeatedly took official action on their behalf. Once Rudy became a lobbyist with Abramoff, Rudy's role in the conspiracy changed to providing a stream of things of value to other public officials, including a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, described as Representative #1.

According to the information filed with the plea agreement, while Rudy was a public official, he created a company called Liberty Consulting, LLC, and through the consulting firm, received approximately $86,000, some of which was for services not rendered. He also received meals, tickets to sporting events and golf trips. For example, the information states that Rudy received an all-expenses-paid trip by private jet in March 2000 to the U.S. Open golf tournament at Pebble Beach, Calif.

Also according to the information, within one year of leaving his official position in the leadership office of Representative #2, Rudy communicated with employees in the leadership office of Representative #2 with the intent to influence official action.

According to the information filed with the plea agreement, after leaving government service and joining Abramoff at Firm B, Rudy, Abramoff and others offered things of value to Representative #1 and members of his staff, including tickets to concerts and sporting events in luxury suites at the MCI Center, Camden Yards Stadium and FedEx Field; use of luxury suites during entertainment events for campaign fund raisers; and golf outings. For example, Rudy invited Representative #1 and his chief of staff to travel to Scotland in August 2002, and said that the trip would involve golf, "drinking and smoking cubans."

Rudy concealed his receipt of this largesse by failing to disclose many of the numerous gifts or trips on the disclosure forms required by the rules of the House of Representatives. As Rudy admitted to in the plea agreement, he repeatedly took official action for Abramoff or his clients during this same period.

Furthermore, the information alleges that the conspiracy committed by Rudy included advising members of Congress, while still employed in the leadership office of Representative #2, to vote against proposed legislation limiting gambling on the internet, without disclosing that he gave this advice in part because Abramoff asked him to oppose the legislation and provided him with things of value.

Rudy also admitted that, as a lobbyist working for Abramoff, he violated the conflict of interest post-employment restrictions by lobbying staff members in the leadership office of Representative #2 within one year of having left his position as Deputy Chief of Staff to that office.

This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Mary K. Butler and M. Kendall Day of the Public Integrity Section, which is headed by Acting Chief Andrew C. Lourie; and Guy D. Singer and Nathaniel B. Edmonds of the Fraud Section, which is headed by Acting Chief Paul E. Pelletier. The case is being investigated special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the General Services Administration Office of Inspector General, the Department of the Interior Office of the Inspector General, and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on March 31, 2006 11:54 AM.

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