House Administration Chairman Bob Ney (R-Ohio) has been linked to a second American Indian tribe in Texas, a potentially significant development as that tribe, the Alabama Coushattas, donated $50,000 to a charity controlled by former GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The charity then funded a lavish golfing trip for Ney, Abramoff and several other individuals to Scotland in August 2002.
According to a plea agreement between Abramoff’s ex-business partner Michael Scanlon and the Justice Department, Ney agreed in June 2002 to help Abramoff pass legislation to re-open the Alabama Coushatta’s casino outside Houston, which had been shuttered earlier that year by Texas authorities.Abramoff had already convinced Ney in March 2002 to support the effort of the Tigua Tribe of El Paso, Texas, to re-open their casino, which had also been closed down by the state. Following a meeting with Abramoff that spring, Ney agreed to attach a provision to an election-reform bill he was overseeing that would revise the Tiguas’ federal charter to allow them to legally operate a casino, and that provision was later revised to include the Alabama Coushattas, according to sources familiar with the issue.
Ney is quite a player in D.C., as it happens, and has earned himself the nickname "Mayor of Capitol Hill."