Friday, March 08, 2013

Disgraced Former Congressman Unloads On Boehner, Burton And Other Top Republicans In Book

The disgraced former Ohio Republican Congressman Bob Ney, who was ensnared in the Jack Abramoff bribery scandal, has penned a tell-all book entitled "Sideswiped: Lessons Learned Courtesy of The Hit Men of Capitol Hill" in which he unloads on many of his former Republican colleagues. Some of Ney's harshest words are directed at House Speaker John Boehner, which match up almost perfectly with my impression of the louse. The National Journal describes what he had to say about then-Majority Leader Boehner:
He describes Boehner as “a bit lazy” and “a man who was all about winning and money. He was a chain-smoking, relentless wine drinker who was more interested in the high life--golf, women, cigarettes, fun, and alcohol.” He said Boehner “spent almost all of his time on fundraising, not policy.” He “golfed, drank constantly, and took the easy way legislatively.” Ney recalled Boehner handing out checks on the House floor and said his ties with a tobacco company were so tight that lawmakers could get free cigarettes from Boehner’s office. His golfing, Ney said, was “nonstop” and “paid for by lobbyists.”
Ney wrote: “If the Justice Department were ever to make John produce receipts for his addiction to golf just for the years from 1995 to 2004, he would be hard-pressed to comply. John got away with more than any other Member on the Hill.”
According to Ney's account, it was Boehner who convinced him to resign his seat after the Justice Department's investigation of him widened to allow another Republican candidate take his place on the ballot in the 2006 general election. Ney claims Boehner promised him a job making a comparable income to his congressional salary and would help raise money for his legal defense. Of course, Boehner never delivered on the promise. "I had been lyed to and ditched," Ney said. Naturally, a spokesman for Boehner, who described Ney as "a convicted felony with a history of failing to tell the truth," denied his allegations.

Ney is equally critical in his book of his own failings, describing his serious alcoholism problem and his open flaunting of congressional ethics rules which he admits crossed the boundaries of what was legal. Nonetheless, he accused the Bush Justice Department of playing hardball with him by leaking totally untrue allegations to the media and overstating his transgressions. Revealing just how deeply depressed the investigation had made him, Ney said he had decided to commit suicide in front of the Justice Department building to draw attention to the tactics employed by federal prosecutors against him.
“After a night of drinking ... I concluded that it was better for my children financially if I were to die before going broke,” he wrote, adding, “I planned to do it right in front of the Department of Justice building with a letter in my pocket and one in the mail to the media, just in case someone from Justice found it on me and disposed of it.” He said he considered the plan “unique, perfect, and damning--the ultimate payback to Bush and Gonzales.” But the night before he was going to do it, friends and his lawyers intervened and got him to enter alcoholism treatment at the Cleveland Clinic. 
An Indianapolis Star story today focuses on Ney's criticism of former Indiana Congressman Dan Burton and his investigation of the Clintons as Chairman of the House Administration & Oversight Committee. Ney's book recounts a meeting with him, Burton and House Speaker Newt Gingrich in which Gingrich denied Burton's request for an additional $5 million to continue his investigation of the Clintons. Ney claims Burton became angry and even cried over Gingrich's decision to shut his investigation down.
When House Speaker Newt Gingrich turned Burton down, the Indiana Republican accused Gingrich of making him look like an idiot and threatened to resign, according to a new book by former Ohio Rep. Bob Ney.
And then Burton started to cry.
“You people are f----ing up my career!” Ney quotes Burton as saying before Burton stormed out of the room.
Burton, who retired from Congress in January, dismissed the account.
“It’s crazy. It’s silly. And it did not happen,” Burton said in a statement.
Ney, who was vice chairman of the House Administration Committee, wrote that he was in the meeting with Burton and Gingrich because the committee chairman didn’t want to go.
“Dan had a tendency to be volatile and exaggerate, which added drama to whatever he happened to be working on,” Ney wrote. “He was quite animated and had a sense of emergency about him, as though some intricate plot was in the works and about to descend upon him.”
Burton was the lead House investigator into allegations of campaign finance abuse by Clinton.
Ney wrote that he knew Burton’s investigation was a dead end. The many subpoenas that had been issued hadn’t found anything shocking or clear-cut . . .
“Newt and I knew that we were all headed down a political rat hole,” Ney wrote. “We could spend millions and millions more and find nothing. If we gave Dan Burton more money, he would return for more — again being ‘ever so close.’” . . .
“You people are screwing me, dismantling my career, making me look like an idiot,” Burton said, according to Ney. “I will be thinking about resigning. Shove this! I don't need it.”
After joining Gingrich in turning Burton down, Ney said Burton gave him “death stares” for a while.
Investigating the Clintons was the right thing to do. It wasn't a dead-end investigation as Ney claims. It was a failed investigation because the Republicans chose the most incompetent investigators they could assemble to investigate the Clintons. The Clintons' pit bull attorneys ran circles around them, just like they did to Independent Prosecutor Ken Starr's investigation. I recall talking to a prominent lobbyist from Little Rock at the time who said everything the Clintons had been accused of doing at the time--Bill's womanizing, Hillary's lesbian affairs, financial self-dealing and even the assassination of their political enemies--was absolutely true. As he explained, people in Little Rock learned that you didn't dare cross the Clintons unless you wanted your career and life destroyed, or even worse, wind up dead as dozens who crossed them found out the hard way.

No comments: