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Bob Ney Rewrites History Of His Role In The Abramoff Scandal

Former Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio), fresh from 17 months in federal custody, is busy trying to rewrite his role in the Jack Abramoff scandal. Ney is trying to portray himself as some kind of a victim of a vengeful Bush administration, but the facts don't jibe with spurious tale.

In an interview last week with radio host Thom Hartmann (hat tip talkingpointsmemo.com), Ney suggested that the White House engaged in "bloodsport" by prosecuting him, and that Vice President Dick Cheney and other hardliners in the administration went after him because Ney wanted to normalize U.S. relations with Iran.

"Well, I know that the harshness of the administration, and again, I take culpability, I did some wrong things, but when you get in their path, I think they've taken bloodsport to a new level in this administration," Ney said.

To be fair, Ney was responding to a leading question from Hartmann as to whether the investigation of his activities, including his interaction with the now-imprisoned Abramoff, was a "political prosecution." Ney also admitted that "I made the bullets, I gave them the bullets" that opened the door to federal corruption charges being brought against him.

Ney added: "But I also believe that part of this was fueled in the sense of the Iran issue. It's been no secret that when I went to prison I gave permission for a secret meeting I'd had with Mr. Guldimann [Tim Guldimann, then Swiss ambassador in Tehran] who came from Switzerland. He presented a document that was absolutely incredible, where Iran would have recognized Israel and a whole host of other things, would have let our inspectors on their ground; and I sent that to the White House."

This is just a ludicrous version of events, and it has very little basis in fact. Let's review the Ney case to see what really happened.

Ney's criminal relationship with Abramoff was first revealed by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in a Nov. 17, 2004, hearing in the Indian Affairs Committee. McCain, then chairman of Indian Affairs, was looking into the tens of millions of dollars of dollars that Abramoff and his former business associate, Michael Scanlon, had been paid by Native American tribes with gambling operations.
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