Abramoff to plead guilty, cooperate in Washington probe

Prosecutors say the lobbyist provided "a stream of things of value" as a quid pro quo for a representative's support.

Published January 3, 2006 4:16PM (EST)

Jack Abramoff is a very busy man.

The Associated Press has the latest: Abramoff has struck deals in both criminal cases in which he's implicated -- the business fraud case in Florida and the lobbying case in Washington -- and will enter guilty pleas in both.

In the Florida case, the AP says, Abramoff will plead guilty to two criminal charges related to his purchase of the SunCruz cruise-ship company. In Washington, Abramoff will plead guilty to charges of conspiracy, fraud and tax evasion related to his activities as a leading Republican lobbyist.

In the criminal information filed against Abramoff in Washington today -- the one to which he will, presumably, enter a guilty plea -- prosecutors say that Abramoff and his co-conspirators "would offer and provide things of value to public officials, including trips, campaign contributions, meals and entertainment in exchange for agreements that the public officials would use their official positions and influence to benefit" Abramoff's clients and business.

Specifically, prosecutors allege that Abramoff and his co-conspirators provided "a stream of things of value" to a member of Congress. In exchange for those "things of value," prosecutors say Abramoff sought and obtained from the member of Congress an agreement that he perform a "series of official acts" aimed at assisting Abramoff, his business and his clients.

Although the member of Congress is identified only as "Representative #1," the mystery man is pretty clearly Robert Ney, the Republican representative from Ohio. And although no other member of Congress is singled out in the charges filed against Abramoff today, there certainly seem to be more coming. Sources have said that the Justice Department is looking at Abramoff's ties to as many as 20 members of Congress and aides. And the criminal charges refer repeatedly to "members of Congress" and "public officials," terms that sure sound plural to us.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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