Friday, October 13, 2006

Bush corruption

Washington - An influential Republican lawmaker pleaded guilty Friday to being corrupted by a now-disgraced lobbyist, in the latest election-season setback for US President George W Bush's party.
Bob Ney, 52, is the first member of Congress to admit guilt in a long-running criminal probe centred on Jack Abramoff, who allegedly showered favours on lawmakers to influence legislation on behalf of his clients.
Ney, appearing before a US federal judge in Washington, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and making false statements. He faces up to 10 years in prison at his January 19 sentencing.
With Congressional elections looming on November 7, Republican leaders in the House of Representatives threatened to expel Ney if he fails to resign his seat quickly. Bush's spokesman, Tony Snow, also urged Ney to resign.
He is the second powerful Republican lawmaker ensnared by the Abramoff scandal after former House majority leader Tom DeLay, who had close ties to the lobbyist, gave up his seat in June after being indicted in a campaign financing probe.
Ney admitted that he corruptly accepted trips, meals, concert and sport tickets and tens of thousands of dollars in campaign funding from Abramoff and his lobbyists, the US Justice Department said.


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