Jack Abramoff Associate Kevin Ring Convicted of Corruption

Jack Ambramoff/ msnbc
By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON – A reminder of much that is wrong with Washington reared its ugly head Monday when a federal jury in the capital convicted Kevin A. Ring,  who worked with corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff, on five counts related to a scheme to corrupt public officials by providing a stream of gifts and favors including all-paid trips, meals and golf outings.

To date, 20 people, including lobbyists and public officials, have pleaded guilty, been convicted at trial, or are awaiting trial in connection with the ongoing investigation into the Abramoff scandal, the Justice Department said. Abramoff pleaded guilty to a variety of charges in January 2006 and was sentenced to four years in prison.

In the Ring case, the jury deliberated three days before finding him guilty of conspiring to corrupt congressional and executive branch officials by providing them things of value, paying gratuity to a public official and three counts of honest services wire fraud.

“Through the talent and hard work of prosecutors from the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity and Fraud Sections, another member of ‘Team Abramoff’ has been held accountable for his actions,” said Mythili Raman, principal deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Divisoin.

“For years, this team of lobbyists schemed to corrupt public officials, and, because of their actions, Americans were denied the honest services of public servants.”

“The public trusts that government processes will be untainted by those who would seek to corrupt them,” added John G. Perren, head of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.

Authorities say Ring had clients around the U.S. including Native American tribal governments operating and interested in casinos.

Authorities charged that Ring and his co-conspirators identified public officials who could help those  clients and then provided them things of value which included all-expenses-paid travel, meals, drinks, golf outings, tickets to professional sporting and concert events and an employment opportunity for the wife of a congressman.

The things of value were often billed to the clients, the Justice Department said.

“Evidence established that Ring and his co-conspirators engaged in this illegal conduct with current and former congressional staff members, including chiefs of staff, as well as officials at the Department of Justice and the White House,” the Justice Department said in a press release.

Evidence during trial included emails from Ring to people he worked with.

“Thank your friends on the Hill and in the Administration,” Ring wrote in one email. “In fact, thank them over and over again this week – preferably for long periods of time and at expensive establishments.”

In another email he wrote about a public official who attended a sporting event: “Glad he got a chance to relax. Now he can pay us back.”

And another email to a public official said: “You are going to eat free off our clients. Need to get us some [appropriations] money.”

Testimony at trial from Ring’s co-conspirators showed that Ring joked about giving things of value to officials and said: “Hello quid, where’s the pro quo.”

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