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Safe Place for Hard Cold Cash

The latest casualty in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal is also the youngest: Will Heaton, 28, who served as chief of staff to convicted ex-Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio), pleaded guilty conspiracy charges Monday.

One of the revelations made in the plea agreement documents is that Ney, who's now serving 30 months in prison on corruption charges, kept a safe in his office filled with "thousands of dollars" won from gambling chips Ney accepted from a foreign businessman.

What, the freezer wasn't good enough?

Maybe this is the difference between Democrats and Republicans who are caught up in corruption scandals. When agents raided the Washington home of Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.), who is under a federal bribery investigation, they found about $90,000 worth of cash hidden in his freezer. But Ney, according to the Justice Department, kept his graft in a safe, which young Heaton would open on command for the boss.

It's not a common practice for members of Congress to use safes, Hill aides say. But in Ney's case, he kind of needed a place to put his money. After all, his office was the place where he hung his hat. He slept there, and showered in the House gym.

Associates of Ney say they feel bad for Heaton, a devout Catholic from North Carolina, educated at the College of William and Mary, who they view as a victim of Ney's corruption rather than an equal partner in crime. For them, red flags were waving when Ney skipped over several much more senior aides in his office to elevate Heaton -- who was 23-years-old -- from the job of driver to chief of staff.

Here are court documents related to the plea agreement:

* Information on the Charges

* Factual Basis for the Plea

* The Plea Agreement

By Mary Ann Akers  |  February 26, 2007; 7:15 PM ET
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Next: Staring Adversity In The Face



Posted by: AM | February 27, 2007 12:23 PM | Report abuse

If Kerry really wanted to "Stare Adversity in the Face", he would have come face to face with the actual Swift Boat Vets. But then he doesn't have the spine to confront REAL war heros.

Posted by: Robert J. Rich | February 28, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Kerry really is a joke!

Posted by: Mark | February 28, 2007 2:29 PM | Report abuse

All the people who participated in the SWIFT BOAT ATTACKS against Senator Kerry should be sent to the moon. Establish a COLONY OF GOP liars like Ney, Abrahoff, Gannon (Gay guy who probably "did" Pres. Bush)Cheney and Bush...the Commander in Chimp.

Posted by: Julie Harvey | February 28, 2007 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Kerry is a phoney. Sandy Berger is a thief and COLD CASH Jefferson is a crook.Hillary cannot remember a thing about anything. But none will be held to task and punshished according to the law. Yet Scooter Liby who did absolutely nothing compared to the above polls is on trial for not being able to recall from memory what he said or didn't say months ago. What a farce!!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 28, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Just curious, when will Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) get his turn to face the music for his deep involvement with Abramoff and the Nevada Indian casinos? And why is this brewing scandal, which has the potential to take down the most powerful member of congress (which makes him one of the most powerful men on the planet), conspicuously absent from the daily news cycle? I think the model here would be the constant updates of the ongoing per...uh...prosecution of soon-to-be-exonerated Tom Delay by Travis Co., Tx DA Ronnie Earle (D). Or maybe the daily front-page musings on Ken Starr's sex life, club membership, or speed dial list. (I feel completely uniformed as I know virtually nothing of the personal life of virtuous public servant Patrick Fitzgerald.) Curious. Hey Thomas Ricks, do I feel another book coming on? Oh wait, Reid has a "D" by his name. Never mind. Move along folks, nothing to see here.

Posted by: Ed Stonelake | February 28, 2007 5:15 PM | Report abuse

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