COLUMBUS, Ohio – As the old saying goes, “You are known by the company you keep.”

The Campaign for America’s Future will launch a new ad campaign tomorrow inviting people in Ohio to “Meet Bob Ney’s Washington Friends.” The campaign will shed some light on Rep. Ney’s relationships with indicted lobbyists and Washington powerbrokers.

Ney is at the center of the largest corruption investigation in Washington, D.C., in recent history. This campaign intends to connect the dots for the people back home and highlight Ney’s involvement with indicted lobbyists Jack Abramoff, Michael Scanlon and Adam Kidan, and former House Republican Leader Tom DeLay.

“We do not intend to judge Ney’s innocence or guilt, only to point out that he is listed as ‘Representative Number One’ in the indictments and plea deals of these disgraced influence peddlers,” said Campaign for America’s Future Deputy Director Ellen Miller.

This will be the third time we have run advertisements in Ohio focused on Ney and his ties to money from lobbyists and the special interests they represent.

This campaign is part of the Campaign for America’s Future’s Project for an Accountable Congress, in which we continue to highlight a handful of politicians as emblems of corruption and expose their actions and behavior. Where desirable, we’ll conduct new investigative research about them. We’ll tell these stories where it counts—in local newspapers, on local radio local talk shows, and on the Internet.

Abramoff, Scanlon and Kidan are lobbyists under investigation by the Department of Justice for one of the biggest corruption scandals to hit Washington in recent years. All have ties to Ney, and his testimony is at the center of the federal investigations.

Scanlon has already pleaded guilty to conspiring to bribe public officials. He has agreed to pay back nearly $20 million that he and Abramoff swindled from Indian tribes.

And Scanlon has fingered Bob Ney, claiming that he and Abramoff offered Ney meals, sports tickets, political contributions and the golfing trip to Scotland in exchange for his assistance. Nearly three pages of Scanlon’s guilty plea detail gifts and services provided to “Representative Number One.” In published reports, Ney’s attorneys acknowledge that Representative Ney is “Representative Number One.” 

The people of the 18th District in Ohio deserve to know how Bob Ney, their representative in Congress, got to the center of a huge Washington corruption scandal. The investigation raises serious questions, including:

  • How deeply is Ney involved with these shady characters?
  • Why is he referred to as “Representative Number One” in these indictments and plea deals?
  • Why does it take three pages for Scanlon to detail all the gifts and favors provided to Ney?
  • What did Ney give in return for all those gifts?

“We are running these ads to raise questions, not to make judgments. We want the people of the 18th District to see the connections between their congressman and these indicted lobbyists and to ask him the hard questions.  And we want the congressman to provide answers,” Miller said. “We want to shed sunlight on the fact that Congressman Bob Ney is at the center of the biggest corruption investigation to hit Washington in recent history. It is up to him to explain himself.”

The Campaign for America’s Future’s previous advertising buys regarding Rep. Ney include full-page ads in the Zanesville Times Recorder and Chillicothe Gazette in June and a 60-second radio spot on five stations in the 18th District in July.

Tomorrow’s innovative campaign begins with print advertisements on four consecutive pages of the Columbus Dispatch.

The ads invite readers to “Meet Bob Ney’s Washington Friends.” Each ad includes a picture of Abramoff, Scanlon, Kidan or DeLay above text reading, “As the old saying goes, you are known by the company you keep.” Each ad then contains a box explaining who the “friend” is and how he is tied to Bob Ney.

The Project for an Accountable Congress has run similar campaigns in three other congressional districts earlier this year. 

The Campaign for America’s Future is fighting the abuse of power by the most corrupt Congress in recent history. We used local advertising to highlight the corruption of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas, the abuse of power by House Social Security Subcommittee Chairman James McCrery of Louisiana, and conflicts of interest by Democratic Representative John Tanner of Tennessee.

The Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) is a center of progressive strategy, organizing and issue campaigns. CAF anchors a progressive leadership network, enlisting leaders at the national, state and local levels to build a more just and democratic society. The Campaign is leading the fight about America’s priorities – against privatization of Social Security, for investment in energy independence, good jobs and a sustainable economy, for affordable health care and more.