Ney Sent Away
The AP is reporting that disgraced former Ohio Congressman Bob Ney, who traded political favors for gifts and campaign donations from convicted Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, will be spending 30 months in federal prison in Morgantown, WV. He also must pay a $6,000 fine and after prison will face two years of probation, and he must pay a $6,000 fine.
The sentence was somewhat harsher than the prosecution recommended. U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle justified the stiff sanction based on Ney's abuse of the trust placed on him as a public official.
Ney's attorneys and supporters had argued for leniency on the ground that his malfeasance stemmed from his drinking problems. A former aide had written that Ney "was a functioning alcoholic who could rarely make it through the day without drinking and would often begin drinking beers as early as 7:30 a.m." Judge Huvelle didn't accept alcohol addiction as fully explaining Ney's wrongdoing. "It wasn't an isolated aberration. It had a consistency to it: It involved significant and serious abuses of the public's trust," Huvelle said. Supporters had hoped that the judge would commit Ney to a treatment facility rather than prison. Instead, she recommended that Ney attend a prison alcohol rehabilitation program. Successful completion of that program may shorten his imprisonment.
Ney will still receive his Congressional pension, which could be about $29,000 per year if he starts collecting it in 2016. A pending measure to block convicted lawmakers from receiving such benefits will not be retroactive in its effect.