Convicted Congressman Tied to Arrested Businessman

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R. Allen Stanford, the titan of Stanford Financial, and now the known as the Texas version of Bernie Madoff, spent a lot of time spreading his money around Capitol Hill. TPM Muckraker has done great work examining the Caribbean junkets organized by a nonprofit that received heavy funding from Standford, the Inter-American Economic Council (IAEC).

One of the congressmen shown to have benefited from Stanford’s largess was Rep. Bob Ney. Ney would eventually plead guilty to trading his services for gifts and campaign contributions from Jack Abramoff and his merry band of lobbyists. At the time, Ney held powerful positions as the Chair of the Committee on House Administration and on the House Committee on Financial Services. Stanford’s main interest in wooing congressmen was to block any legislation that could close or effect the operations of his Antigua-based bank.

Ney, and his staff (one of whom, Will Heaton, would later plead guilty in the Abramoff case), received $26,177 in travel to Miami, FL and Caribbean islands paid for by the IAEC. Ney also received $26,200 in campaign contributions from Stanford Financial Group employees. More than half of those contributions ($14,200) came after Ney inserted the following into the Congressional Record:

Mr. NEY. Mr. Speaker:

Whereas, Allen R. Stanford has been recognized as the 2006 Recipient of the “Excellence in Leadership Award” by the Inter-American Economic Council ; and

Whereas, Allen R. Stanford has been acknowledged for his performance and leadership in the areas of finance and investments; and

Whereas, Allen R. Stanford should be commended for his service as the CEO of the Stanford Financial Group based in Houston, Texas.

Therefore, I join with the residents of the entire 18th Congressional District of Ohio in honoring and congratulating Allen R. Stanford for his outstanding accomplishments.

I’m sure that the people of Ohio’s 18th Congressional District love to have been included in the congratulations from one criminal to another. More important than that is Ney’s prior use of the Congressional Record to do favors for Jack Abramoff and pals. In 2000, Ney twice inserted comments into the Congressional Record in support of Abramoff and Adam Kidan’s takeover of SunCruz Casinos, a takeover that would eventually send them both to prison. In exchange for the comments, Abramoff and Kidan contributed $10,000 in Ney’s name to the National Republican Congressional Committee. Ney was under extreme pressure to raise money for the NRCC at the time.

It isn’t entirely clear whether Ney’s use of the Congressional Record to commend Stanford copies the actions he undertook for Jack Abramoff and Adam Kidan. However, after receiving zero contributions for all of 2005, Ney suddenly found himself the recipient of $14,200 in contributions from Stanford and top Stanford Financial Group employees. The majority of the contributions, $10,000,  came on October 28, 2005. Ten days later, Stanford contributed $4,200 to Ney’s reelection campaign. One year later, Stanford became a contributor to Ney’s legal defense fund.

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