FLORIDA, March 19, 2012 — Almost seven years ago, the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal caused such a stir on Capitol Hill that many believe it threw the Republican majority out of power.
The GOP has not dominated both houses of Congress since.
Despite the scandal having an immense scope, only one elected public officeholder was charged with any wrongdoing. That was former U.S. Representative Bob Ney. Since being released from federal prison, he has devoted his career to raising awareness about government malfeasance.
Taking this into account, it should come as no surprise that his new book,
Ney’s new book, Sideswiped: Lessons Learned Courtesy of the Hit Men of Capitol Hill, has generated much controversy.
In this second part of our discussion, Ney shares his opinions about whether or not he was the fall guy for more extensive corruption and John Boehner’s tenure as a public servant. He also tells us about why he chose to criticize Boehner extensively, his response to the portrayal of him issued by Boehner’s office, and the greatest lesson learned from being a congressman.
Joseph F. Cotto: In your opinion, were you the fall guy for far more corrupt individuals on Capitol Hill?
Rep. Bob Ney: I did illegal, unethical, criminal, idiotic, acts. So I was to blame, however, I detail at great length in Sideswiped of those who were able to take advantage of my problems to put the “Abramoff corruption to bed” with just Jack and I doing time.
As far as anyone else, and many were certainly in the Abramoff web (Jack himself on 60 minutes said he had 100 members in his pocket), I cannot answered why they were not pursued, only Alberto Gonzalez and Alice Fisher (Senator Levin criticized her as doing nothing with the Abramoff affair and “close to Tom Delay’s defense team) can answer that. I detail Alice’s involvement and history in the chapter “Pretty Alice” in Sideswiped.
Cotto: You have criticized John Boehner extensively. How come?
Rep. Ney: I did not just do it out of the blue. He is a part of the Abramoff story, had a part to play in Alice Fisher’s nomination which was in trouble, and his main staffer for years had a link with he and the White House.
I also gave a flavor of my dealings with him, the way he conducts himself which I believe people have a right to know about the third in line for the Presidency. I do not dislike him but the truth is the truth. He can deny the statements in the book, I am not the only one that is aware of what I have stated.
Cotto: What is your opinion of Boehner as a public servant?
Rep. Ney: He has always been a “get along guy” not interested in legislation or an intense schedule, which I feel makes him a leader that will not get much done for the conservative side or the Congress in general. The John Boehner I knew then is the same John Boeher during the sequestration and maybe that is part of the problem.
Cotto: Since “Sideswiped” was released, Boehner’s office has responded harshly to your portrayal of him. Do you have anything to say in response?
Rep. Ney: The truth will come forth, there are other people who are “not felons, not disgraced, and not know liars” who have knowledge firsthand of what I have stated in the book.
Cotto: What was the greatest lesson that you learned from your congressional career?
Rep. Ney: That the Congress is a noble historic institution and I learned that one should always keep sight of why they go there and not get lost and off track for things that are of no value. I learned what is important in life which is to avoid what you know is simply not proper.
Far-left? Far-right? Get real: Read more from “The Conscience of a Realist” by Joseph F. Cotto
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