New Revelation Appears to Counter Corrupt Congressman's Denial That He Was Aware of the Lobbyist's Funding of Overseas Junket...
By Brad Friedman on 4/26/2007, 12:48pm PT  

Rep. Tom Feeney's (R-FL) office followed the specific instructions of Jack Abramoff's office in reporting the precise cost of his golf junket to Scotland with the disgraced lobbyist as $5,643, instead of the $20,000 the trip actually cost, according to an email obtained by the St. Petersberg Times.

The brief email is posted at the bottom of this article.

Feeney, the corrupt, once-powerful GOP congressman and very close friend of the Bush Family, has denied for years that he knew the lobbyist had paid for the trip, but the email from Abramoff's assistant seems to suggest otherwise, according to the Times Anita Kumar:

The e-mail from Holly Bowers, Abramoff's then-assistant, instructs recipients to say a conservative think tank, the National Center for Public Policy Research, paid for the trip at a cost of $5,643 per person.

In reality, the extravagant trip that began with a trans-Atlantic flight on a private jet and featured twice-daily golf at world-famous locales cost about $160,000, or $20,000 per person for each of the eight attendees.

Feeney, 48, an Orlando-area Republican who has been contacted by the FBI as part of the Abramoff investigation, reported precisely the details supplied by Abramoff's office in his congressional travel report on the Scotland trip.

The email fails to list thousands of dollars in greens fees incurred by the Scotland contingent's twice-a-day rounds of golf at the legendary Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, one of the world's oldest and most exclusive courses. Feeney now claims he paid those greens fees himself...

Last January, Feeney was finally forced to pay back the cost of the trip once the House Ethics Committee found him in violation of House rules. He has continued to maintain he did nothing wrong and that "there was no relationship" with Abramoff, despite the overseas golf trip to St. Andrews in which he would have spent hours on a small private plane with Jack and the $4000 donated to Feeney's campaign by Abramoff and his clients. The controversy eventually forced Feeney to give $1000 of that, the amount given by Abramoff himself, to charity.

Feeney has taken at least two other trips in violation of ethics rules, according to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), including one to South Korea paid for by the Korea-U.S. Exchange Council (KORUSEC), a registered foreign agent, and another to West Palm Beach, Florida, also paid for by a lobbying group.

Congressional aide Mark Zachares pled guilty this week to charges of having accepted some $40k in cash and gifts from Abramoff, and has been giving details to federal investigators of how they had all agreed to claim the cost of the trip as $5,643 per person, and how Abramoff was working on a long term plan to see Zachares posted in a position where he could do favors for the lobbyist.

What Abramoff and Feeney discussed during the trip is still unknown. The FBI interviewed him last week, and has requested emails sent by Feeney's then-Chief of Staff, Jason Roe, to various Florida newspapers. Roe abruptly resigned this week from his new post on the Mitt Romney campaign in the wake of the scanda,l which seems to have ensnared both him and wife, who received some $50,000 for fundraising duties --- even while serving as a Congressional staffer --- for Feeney's recent campaign against computer programmer turned Feeney-whistleblower, Clint Curtis.

Feeney has been fingered as "Represenative #3" in documents filed by investigators related to Zachares's recent guilty plea.

The email from Abramoff's assistant to Feeney's assistant is below. It was also sent to Zachares...

Feeney is no stranger to corruption and controversy. For more details on Feeney's sordid and storied history of alleged ethical and criminal corruption, see the links concerning Clint Curtis in the box below. We've recently updated the "Curtis/Feeney/Yang Vote-Rigging Scandal" Special Coverage Page to reflect the barrage of late news in the entire matter...

For more info on The BRAD BLOG's continuing investigative series on
The Clint Curtis/Tom Feeney/Yang Enterprises Vote-Rigging Scandal series, please see:
- A Quick Summary of the story so far.
- An Index of all the Key Articles & Evidence in the series so far.
- Curtis eventually ended up running for U.S. Congress against Feeney in 2006.
For more info, see: www.ClintCurtis.com