Thursday, January 12, 2006

Say "Nay" to Ney

Hold your nose and read more about Congressman Bob Ney (Republican -- of course -- from Ohio) at BradBlog.

Rep. Ney has been a key reason why Republicans have been able to rig elections. The strongly pro-Republican and Ohio-based Diebold Company makes many of the voting machines used in precincts across America. Rational human beings argue that electronic voting machines should produce a paper record of the actual vote as insurance against fraud or in case of a recount. Prodded by Diebold, the Republican leadership, led by Bob Ney, has blocked attempts to require a paper record in federal elections.

Yet once you've dipped your toe into the waters of corruption it's only a matter of time before you dive right in. Rep. Ney seems to have enjoyed the life of a high roller while being lobbied by his former staffers on behalf of Diebold and another, shall we say, "interesting" client:
In addition to lobbying in favor of Electronic Voting, DiStefano and Coffee were also paid thousands to lobby Ney on behalf of an obscure firm by the name of FN Aviation, which later became known as FAZ Aviation. FN/FAZ Aviation, the Columbus Dispatch reported last December, paid for Ney's 2003 trip to England. On that trip, Ney met at a casino with FN Aviation's director, Nigel Winfield, a three-time convicted felon, and Fouad al-Zayat, the Syrian-born head of FN Aviation. Zayat, as reported by NBC News, is known as "one of London's biggest gamblers."

As has also been reported by NBC and others, the apparently once-very lucky Ney reported winning some $34,000 a few months later at that same London casino, after an initial $100 bet "on two hands of a three-card game of chance," according to his spokesperson Brian Walsh. Ney, who coincidentally carried at least $30,000 in credit card debt in 2002, was fortunate to be able to report that the debt was paid off in full by the end of 2003.

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