Campaign 2010

Sep 04, 2008

As Guilty Lobbyist Jack Abramoff Is Sentenced, Itís Time for Tom Feeney to Come Clean

As guilty lobbyist Jack Abramoff is sentenced today to four years in prison for "trading luxury golf junkets, expensive meals, skybox tickets and other gifts for political favors" [Associated Press, 9/4/08], the questions of Representative Tom Feeney's (FL-24) relationship with Abramoff continue to go unanswered.

 

Feeney is part of the FBI investigation into connections to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, after accompanying Abramoff on an infamous golf junket to Scotland in 2003, and Feeney has already paid over $147,000 in legal fees this election cycle. 

 

Unlike convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who admitted that he "did many bad things" and has cooperated with the FBI, Tom Feeney has yet to come clean to the people of Florida's 24th District about his Scotland golf junket with Abramoff and what he did for Abramoff in return. 

 

"Today's sentencing of guilty lobbyist Jack Abramoff only highlights the fact that Tom Feeney continues to hide from questions about his unethical relationship with Abramoff and remains part of an FBI investigation for his infamous golf junket to Scotland," said Kyra Jennings, DCCC Southern Regional Press Secretary.  "Feeney has clearly put his own interests and special interests above the people of his district and this November he will be held accountable for his unethical connections and character."

 

Background:

 

  • Feeney Has Not Come Clean on the Cost of His 2003 Scotland Trip

Feeney reimbursed the government $5,643 to cover the cost of the trip, but court documents later revealed that the trip may have cost as much as $20,000. [Florida Today, 4/26/07]

 

  • Feeney Has Not Come Clean on if He Knew Abramoff Sponsored the Trip

Feeney falsely claimed that the 2003 Scotland golf junket was sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research.  But an e-mail obtained by the St. Petersburg Times showed that Abramoff's assistant told Feeney's executive assistant to report the trip was sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research at a cost of $5,643 per person. According to court documents, another recipient of the e-mail said he knew the expense details for the Scotland trip were lies coordinated by Abramoff. [St. Petersburg Times, 4/26/07]

 

  • Feeney Has Not Come Clean on His 2003 Scotland Trip Being Paid For by Abramoff's "Slush Fund"

In January 2007, Feeney said he was "duped and lied to" about what he thought was a fact-finding trip with Abramoff.  Documents obtained by the Orlando Sentinel on Thursday from the Senate Indian Affairs Committee show that Abramoff's personal charity, Capital Athletic Foundation, paid $150,226.32 for a "Scotland fundraiser" in 2003.  [Orlando Sentinel, 4/27/08]

 

  • Feeney Has Not Come Clean on Rule Change for Abramoff's Clients

Feeney cosigned a 2003 who wrote to the Energy Department to oppose changes to a federal program that was also opposed by Atofina Chemicals, a client of former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. [St. Petersburg Times, 4/29/07]

 

  • Feeney Has Not Returned All of Abramoff's Money

In 2006, the Associated Press reported that Feeney accepted $4,000 from Abramoff, the Indian tribes that hired him or SunCruz Casinos, which Abramoff purchased with a partner, and Feeney's campaign kept the $3,000 received from Indian tribes represented by Abramoff. [Associated Press State & Local Wire, 1/04/06; Orlando Sentinel, 1/08/06]

 

  • Feeney Repeatedly Voted to Stop Ethics Committee Investigation into Abramoff

In 2006, Feeney voted in favor of two motions to kill a proposal that forced the House Ethics committee to immediately begin an investigation into members of the House embroiled in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal.  [HRS762, Vote #87, 4/05/06; HRS 746, Vote #76, 3/30/06]

 

  • Feeney has spent $147,223.71 since last Election Day on Legal Fees

Feeney's total legal bills for this election cycle come to over $147,000, with more than $90,000 of those payments being made from Feeney's campaign account.  Feeney even paid $15,000 in legal fees in July alone. [fec.gov; Legislative Resource Center]