Questions for Bob Ney

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Along with two other organizations, Public Campaign Action Fund sent this letter to U.S. Representative Bob Ney (R-OH) to ask him to answer just a few questions about his knowledge of facts in yesterday's Washington Post story:
American Family Voices ◦ Campaign for America’s Future
Public Campaign Action Fund
May 2, 2005
U.S. Rep. Bob Ney
2438 Rayburn House Office Bldg.
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Congressman Ney:
We are very concerned by facts reported this weekend by The Washington Post regarding your involvement with the sale of a Florida cruise line, SunCruz Casinos.
As you know, the sale involved the lobbyist and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay ally Jack Abramoff, financial fraud, and possible mob influence in the gangland-style shooting of the seller.
As public interest groups concerned with government ethics we are shocked that, as an eastern Ohio Congressman, you decided to involve yourself as a member of the House with a business deal that had so little to do with your constituents’ interests.
With regard to the story in The Washington Post, headlined, “Untangling a Lobbyist’s Stake in a Casino Fleet: With Millions of Dollars Unaccounted for, Another Federal Investigation Targets Abramoff,” we request that you set the record straight as to your involvement in the incidents reported, as follows:
1. When Michael Scanlon, the former DeLay spokesman and then-Abramoff business partner), asked you to make March, 2000 Congressional Record remarks targeting SunCruz founder Gus Boulis, did you or your staff ever ask him why you should do such a thing?
2. Why did you feel that SunCruz Casinos and Gus Boulis’s business practices in Florida were relevant to your duties representing your constituents in the 18th District of Ohio?
3. Why, in your Congressional record remarks, did you single Boulis out for attack and call for a federal investigation of his business practices? As The Washington Post reported, the effect of these remarks was to exert pressure on Boulis to agree to the sale terms proposed by Abramoff and Adam Kidan.
4. Were your remarks drafted for you wholly or in part by Michael Scanlon and/or his staff?
5. Were you aware at the time of those first Congressional Record remarks that Scanlon was working closely with Abramoff, and were you aware then that that Abramoff had entered into a secret and improper partnership with Kidan to buy SunCruz?
6. You later stated that you felt you were duped by Abramoff and Kidan, called them “nefarious individuals,” and said you had rejected them. When did you first conclude that they had duped you, and form the opinion that they were “nefarious”?
7. What was the contact that led to separate $1,000 contributions to your campaign on June 29 and 30, 2000 from Kidan, Abramoff, Abramoff’s wife, and Scanlon?
8. On Oct. 26, 2000, you inserted remarks in the Congressional Record stating that Adam Kidan “will easily transform SunCruz from a questionable enterprise to an upstanding establishment.” What was the basis for your belief that he would do so?
9. Were you aware, at the time of your second Congressional Record remarks, of Adam Kidan’s checkered background of lawsuits, liens, court judgments, bankruptcy, possible links to organized crime, or his use of a phony $23 million wire transfer and two separate checks for $2.5 million each which bounced, as part of the purchase of SunCruz?
10. Were you aware then that Kidan had been disbarred in New York two weeks after your first Congressional Record remarks for mishandling $100,000 he held in an escrow account for his stepfather?
11. Gus Boulis was killed in a gangland-style slaying on Feb. 6, 2001, after his deal to sell SunCruz to Abramoff and Kidan went sour. Adam Kidan reportedly arranged for $145,000 in payments starting less than two months before the slaying to mob-linked Anthony Moscatiello and his daughter, for which no work was apparently performed, according to The Washington Post. When did you first become aware that Kidan was a longtime acquaintance of Moscatiello, who had previously been indicted in New York in a case involving organized crime and members of the Gambino family?
12. Was Anthony Moscatiello present at the fundraiser that the casino boat executives held for you on March 15, 2001 in lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s skybox at the MCI Center, where Abramoff and Adam Kidan each contributed $1,000 to you? Did you know, at the time of this event, that Boulis had been murdered five weeks before your fundraiser?
13. Your spokesperson at the time, Neil Volz, indicated that you would return Kidan’s contribution. When reporters pointed out that FEC records indicate that never happened, you said your campaign had tried to refund the money but the checks were “returned to sender” because Kidan couldn’t be located. Could you provide copies of those returned checks, and have you made any subsequent efforts to return this money?
Thank you very much for your time and attention to these important questions. We look forward to your reply.
Yours truly,
David Donnelly
National Campaigns Director
Public Campaign Action Fund
Roger Hickey
Campaign for America’s Future
Michael Lux
American Family Voices