Skip to main content

tv   Q A at 10  CSPAN  January 1, 2015 7:00pm-8:01pm EST

7:00 pm
uddy ravine. the men galloped on the horses, they had stuff there full of this full and they rode into the midst of the buffalo firing and shouting. from there he went to the top of the hill where the capitol is and told everybody this should be the seat of the future empire. >> watch all our events from austin saturday at 9:00 eastern and sunday at 2:00 p.m. on c-span3. >> this week on "q&a," former ohio republican congressman bob ney discusses his newly released memoir titled "sideswiped: lessons learned courtesy of the hit men of capitol hill."
7:01 pm
>> former congressman bob ney. in a chapter headlined "pretty alice," you called pretty alice the most covert, manipulative, cunning, stealth vicious cold-hearted instrument of evil that karl rove and the bush administration had. what is pretty alice? >> alice fisher is a very interesting person that received attention from senator levin in particular and that basically went away as i explain in the book. but alice fisher had never particularly tried cases and was criticized for that. she was in the criminal division 2001 to 2003. went over to work for chertoff. an extreme political optrative
7:02 pm
and in the bush-cheney campaign i don't want to call her a political hack but i'll say political hack. she then was up for appointment when alberto gonzales was attorney general for the united states. ran afoul of senator levin and the reason it did is because he said a, she was close to tom delay's defense team. she had dealings with his defense team. b, she didn't have a lot of experience trying cases, was going to be head of the criminal division but the most important part where she was so stealth on this and that's where i bring in the cheney, torture, guantanamo bay, alberto gonzales flair -- she was approached when she was in the criminal division of the justice department by the f.b.i. and this is available through wikipedia, et cetera. and she was part of saying, torture, let's suppress that. she was part of the cover-up. she was not just an attorney, she was in the power position to
7:03 pm
be able to say no, torture we'll let that be suppressed a bit. >> so you plea bargained and what was the plea bargain, to her? >> she was head of the criminal division and she made all the announcements. i call her pretty alice because when we sit there, we would be in press conferences, she would put on a red dress and be dolled up and smiling for the cameras and i would say there's pretty alice so it was an inside joke with my attorneys and i and i incorporated that into the chapter. the reason it was important to her and i didn't connect all of these dots frankly, until later, during my prison time and afterwards, of the exact integral part of alice, john boehner at that time, majority leader, barry jackson who was his chief of staff who worked for karl rove and my former chief of staff -- i didn't put all those pieces together but
7:04 pm
she was being criticized by senator levin not enough trial experience, too close to tom delay's defense team. delay was under scrutiny supposedly by the defense department and the other part is she was part of the cover-up to torture. her appointment was in trouble as everyone knew from senator levin to the floor of the senate. at some point in time when john boehner in august called me and cut a deal with me, majority leader at that point in time and he said i had 24 hours to consider this deal or it would be irrelevant, that i would be able to get a job comparable to the salary i made in congress and he would help me raise legal defense money to, quote, put this behind me, this problem with the justice department, if i pulled out of the election. didn't have to resign from congress but i needed to say publicly i'm not running. they then would get a replacement which congressman boehner named senator joey paget from ohio. >> what year was this?
7:05 pm
>> 2006 in august. i had 24 hours and i clearly remember john boehner saying if you don't accept this deal in 24 hours, it's off the table. i called within 24 hours after a lot of soul searching and i said fine, i'll take the deal, comparable salary, you find me a job and help me raise legal defense money to put this behind me. i just won the primary in 2006. i was full steam ahead to run. boehner's call made the significant difference of me getting out in time for them to find someone to run in my place. after that, i announced and sent my letter to the secretary of state of ohio, i couldn't get a janitor in john boehner's office to call me back. soon after that, into the september or so time frame, my lawyers had contact from the justice department. it was full steam ahead indictments, multiple indictments or plea, take your pick. at that point in time, i made a decision to take a plea.
7:06 pm
by september 13 or so, alice fisher solved her lack of prosecution on the arbmove case and that was me. all of a sudden the plea was let out, they had a plea in process. alice fisher goes on to her appointment process and that's where if you read the book, i believe the dots connect. >> here is the woman you refer to as pretty alice. >> international and domestic trips such as a trip to scotland with others valued at $160,000. a trip to new orleans valued at $7,000. a trip to lake george valued at $3500. and hundreds of dollars of meals, drinks, tickets to concerts tickets to sporting events and use of a box suite to conduct fundraisers. in exchange for this stream of benefits as congressman ney admits, he agreed to perform a series of official acts
7:07 pm
including agreeing to insert four separate and unrelated amendments to election reform legislation, statements into the congressional record and agreeing to support jack abramoff's clients in obtaining a multi-million dollar contract and then he concealed these actions from the public and from the house of representatives by filing inaccurate disclosure statements. >> anything she said that was wrong? >> yes. and this is very fascinating. first of all let me make it crystal clear, i committed illegal acts, unethical acts, improper acts. i took free food and booze from jack abramoff. i don't deny that. i created this problem and i admit that. she mentioned that lake george trip. i was not indicted or asked for a plea on that trip. that lake george trip, i paid on that lake george trip. the people that went on that
7:08 pm
trip know that. the people that they downloaded, former staff they know that trip was basically bulk of it, it was a personal trip and i paid my way. as far as the thousands of dollars, the justice department estimates thousands of dollars at jack a. or abramoff's restaurant, that's true. i don't disagree with that over a period of three years. that's accurate. what she failed to mention, when i would go to jack abe move's restaurant i would have to shove the bush staffers from the bar because they were getting free drinks, too. the amendments into inserting amendments into the help america vote act. i inserted no amendment for jack
7:09 pm
abramoff into the help america vote act which was my legacy bill with steny hoyer, the first official election bill dealing with the federal government in probably the nation's history. it was a legacy bill. i did not insert jack's amendment. i was on with congressman mcconnell and dodd. they will verify, at no point did i lay the amendments on the table for jack abe move. did not happen. did i agree to consider an amendment for jack abramoff for that bill? absolutely. i am probably one of the first members of congress in this country's history in modern times to plead a felony for agreeing to consider a amendment to a bill. if they would charge fell felonies on people considering an amendment to a bill there would be very little people left on capitol hill. >> what did you know you were
7:10 pm
doing something wrong? >> there were bright lines i crossed. jack abramoff said members of the senate were interested in the amendment. i said clearly to jack abramoff that i would consider the amendment, which is my felony, i guess, for considering the amendment. i would consider the amendment and if the senate wanted the amendment, of course, i need that bill and if senators that want amendment and it doesn't ruin my bill, i told abramoff, i'll consider it. at that point in time i didn't know what was in the amendment. we didn't have an actual amendment and that in itself is a problem. to generically consider something that a lobbyist wants, whether abramoff or not, and say you'll consider that, i think that's a problem in itself. the bright line is when we received, a member of my staff received an email and it said if you want to go to jack's restaurant and if you want to eat and you want to drink, meaning, myself and the office although staffers would all take
7:11 pm
the responsibility, i could have said no, then it's taken care of. whether it's by jack or my former staffer that worked for jack or whatever, whatever lobbyist, that was a crossing of the bright line. the other one was the scotland trip and as i came back, i turned to staffers and said that was weird. at that point in time i should have written a check because i knew that did not smell right. when did i know? i operate like d.c. operates in some ways but there were definite signs probably within a six-month period within meeting jack abramoff, i should have said, it doesn't look good. >> how long do you spend in congress? >> i was part of the contract with america class so i came in 1995. of course in january. and i resigned september -- or november of 2006. >> how long did you spend in prison? >> i was in prison 17 months. now, i was behind the wall as we would say for a year's
7:12 pm
period and then into the halfway house so i did 17 months officially of federal time, sentenced to 30 months. my plea deal was 18 months. >> when you think back on prison and i know you do a chapter on prison and the halfway house. what comes to mind first? >> first is people that are warehoused. it's a warehouse. anybody that thinks it's rehabilitation, anybody that thinks it's anything of trying to get people prepared to go back in society, it's a warehouse so the first thing that comes to mind is the word warehouse. >> was what it like getting there, first day? who was with you? what were the first couple of days like? >> i did something i didn't want to do. my friend, ellen ratner, my current boss at talk radio news service, said you have to sit with webb hubble. i remember webb hubble when he walked into the hearing room. mike oxley was chairman, i
7:13 pm
believe. we were looking at white water and the president and we had webb public brought out of prison. i remember seeing him in the service suit. they took him back to cumberland maryland, prison. later in my life i'm in washington d.c., webb prepared me for what was going to happen. he was the former assistant attorney general of the united states, former chief justice of the arkansas supreme court and he said this is what's going to happen so that was the preparation. when i went to prison, i didn't take my family with me. it was traumatic and emotional as it was. i took two of my one current staffer and one who had just quit and went on to an operations media firm, those two staffers went with me and they dropped me off at prison and i went in. i walked into the little kiosk, i said i'm bob ney here to report. guard came up. as we walked down, he said, i knew one of your campaign managers in ohio.
7:14 pm
i said, ok. got down in there. the guard said, here, you have hate mail. it was from california, i remember, and massachusetts. you have hate mail waiting on you. they gave me the mail. you go through this most embarrassing part of the strip-down and then i got into the intake, walked into prison. down into the courtyard. the warden, i won't use the language i use in the book, but the warden told me the man that was supposed to tick me -- take me around, get away from him, he can find his own way. and i was sitting there in newbie clothes, like pag ma pants. and another prison asked me where's your escort in the. i said, i don't know. some other yelled foul language. he took in the back way and a man is sitting there and he said are you the congressman?
7:15 pm
and he said, are a republican? i said well, republicans put me in here, you know. i have to pull up situation in the humor. he said, i was the mayor of east cleveland, welcome, i'll get you some clothes. >> he was a prisoner? >> he was a prisoner. he said, where's your unit? i said i don't know. he said, where's your escort? i said somebody yield foul things and the guy ran away. i found out that was the warden screaming, let him find his own way, to teach me a lesson. i walked towards the main line to eat the next day and my mind's racing. how am i going to, when i get out of here, get a job? i've lost every dime. what about my children? what about my family? what can i do? you're disgraced, full of shame et cetera. and prisoner turned to me and said, you co-authored the sowda fed law, you put me in here. and i realized it's a day at a
7:16 pm
time. i got to get through this place. it's a day at a time and from that day changed my attitude so that was my first 24 hours. >> what prison was it? >> morgantown federal corrections. >> what's it close to? >> between wheeling, west virginia and cumberland, maryland. >> you were born in wheeling. >> born in wheeling, west virginia, raised in ohio. went to prison in morgantown, west virginia, and i'll make a choice to be buried in ohio, not west virginia. >> you said you work for ellen ratner. this audience knows ellen ratner from her appearances here. before we talk about her because she's mentioned throughout your book, i want to run a clip, her appearance on this network about the same time this was all happening, has nothing to do with you but you can see what she looks like. >> i have been -- i was a big marcher in the 1960's. right over here and this mall, many marches, the last big one
7:17 pm
not the last march i participated in but the biggest one was 1969, november 1969, against the war. all those l.b.g.'s and hey, hey, i'm not going to repeat what we used to say but i have been a big dissenter my whole life. >> elener ratner in my recollection could not be farther from you politically. >> in the day in congress, in those days, there was zero that ellen ratner and i agreed upon zero politically. today we might agree on some things but still today i call ellen lovingly the queen of the left. and ellen is a pure, true liberal in all the sense of being a liberal. we have been friends since i walked into the doors of congress and politically, we're a little closer here there and today but in the damage days, there's not one vote we would share. >> what did she do for you? >> ellen did several things.
7:18 pm
we not only became friends. we had this karmic relationship in the sense that she changed her birthday party, her 50th, and as a result i didn't want to go to a scheduled event i had in new york city where i was to open nasdaq, go into the tower and some kind of fundraiser and close the stock exchange and i had it set for september 11 of 2001. and so ellen changed her birthday party and we said we can make it september 4. so one week earlier i'm up in the tower looking out over the crisp day in new york. that was a cosmic bind with ellen and i. i would have been in the towers that day had she not changed her birthday party so there was something about ellen ratner beyond a friend and she visited me in prison and said you need to work for talk radio and i said ellen, i don't want publicly to do anything, i want to work a job and she said, you have things to offer.
7:19 pm
so what ellen did for me and i mention this as i dedicate the book for her -- i work for her now but that's the small part but ellen was my friend, counselor, psychiatrist, tough love. ellen, as you know ellen ratner, she doesn't let you get by with anything. she'll tell you right now in an unfiltered tone so ellen has been a wonderful friend. >> where do you live allow? >> ohio, newark, ohio, near columbus, ohio. >> married twice divorced twice. current relationships? >> no, not really. >> kids? >> two children, yeah. nothing serious, though, but two children and a grandchild. i have to mention my grandchild. >> go back to the prison. the fraud of public officials being in prison and the experience is rarely written about. you've put it all on paper. what was it like first couple of days and what kind of a cell were you in?
7:20 pm
you mention there was a toilet in the cell with you. and did that serve the people? >> that's if you -- the toilet is if you are put into solitary confinement because i mentioned the shu solitary confinement unit and i mention that because that's where you're placed with another person so it's not a very good place to be. >> did you get this trouble? >> i did get in trouble once because i went to do laundry and the one officer said, what are you doing? and i said laundry. the tv's were turned on which meant you could get up and move around and they had not turned them off and i said i'm sorry and he said you better be sorry but i never got cited for it. otherwise, i didn't get in trouble. but as far as what the prison was like, it was traumatic at that time. my family, i was married my
7:21 pm
second wife, my children. and you're going into prison so you walk in there and everything you've known is behind you. i tell my friends, i went from capitol hill where, hello, mr. chairman, hi, mr. chairman have a cup of coffee, mr. chairman to, no, you're not getting a second round of oatmeal scumbag, move on. it's a different attitude in prison. but when i went in, i immediately met some people and i've got to be frank about this, i became friends more with the people who were in their for drug offenses than the white collar crime people. i had white collar crime friends but i became more friends with the people who were in for drug offenses. first of all, they didn't whine as much about prison. they were more street savvy and they were people who had, i think, for me, at least, a lot to share. they never would have had a chance to meet a member of congress. and a lot of them told me that and a lot of minorities, african americans, latinos, said we would never have had an opportunity to meet you when were in congress we'd love to
7:22 pm
ask you questions and i would answer questions in some of the classrooms and talk to them about jobs and resumes. so yeah, i received a lot back from them. but the first initial part is terrifying for anyone, especially myself because i went from a lawmaker to law breaker and some people in prison said, you made the laws that put me in here, you did that to me. and then of course you try to say, you broke the law but yes, i made the law. >> was it a country club security? >> ricky campbell -- and i have permission to use his name -- he has written two pages in this book. ricky campbell is a prisoner. something fascinating he has to say, very accurate. he was in longer than i was and kept better notes. as ricky addresses the club fed thing. barbara walters did a club fed interview about swimming pools and how these were club feds. this was a minimum so it wasn't a camp.
7:23 pm
>> no bars on -- >> that's correct. no bars -- open cubicals, things like that. they don't even lock you in at night. there's officers but you could get up to go to the restroom or something but there are no particular cells unless you get this trouble, then you go into the shoe the holding area. but as far as the club fed attitude, it's not. it's prison. it's punishment. you will do this at a certain time, you will do that at a certain time. you will follow the rules. you run out of minutes and you have an emergency at home, too bad. if someone dies, you hear ney to the chapel. you go to the chapel -- and i know this as a particular case from two friends -- oh, your mother died and by the way you owe us $22 on your account. that's about how you were told. i know i did wrong and people in prison did wrong but there's a
7:24 pm
certain human quality if you want to psychologically rebuild someone who has committed a crime that you would undertake these in a different way. prison is no joyride. i don't care if it's county lockup, state or federal, but the club fed years ago when they did that club fed thing it gave a country club attitude to the place. yes, there are maximum security places i wouldn't want to be with hard core people that maybe committed murder or such types of crimes. but the minimums are no picnic ride where you're free to talk to your family, pick up the phone and do what you want to do. >> who was charles mozzier? >> charles mossier was my probation officer and he's federal. he was assigned to me in columbus, ohio. had an interesting situation because he was -- whether intentionsally or whatever, he was in fact calling to the prison and the prison then -- the gentleman in the prison that oversaw that part of the probation and when you leave, would call me in and he just
7:25 pm
would scare me to death, you know. what are you having this man call for? what are you trying to do? you think your something, congressman? you're trying to use pull? and i would say i don't know charles mozzier, i've never heard of the man. the gentleman in prison said i'm going to call his boss. the calls in created massive heartburn and they called me in to ask me, who i was working for, which was going to be ellen ratner, how much money i was going to make, which yipp at that time. and all these details which you normally aren't put through prior to getting out of prison. i was not released on the due date was to be released and fortunately by accident was able to get a call to my attorney. >> how much did you write yourself? >> i've written the entire book myself except for ricky campbell's part about the prison
7:26 pm
and a former staffer that put together a chapter in the book. i had an editor sherry johnson from new mexico, wonderful woman who was parting my conscience to say this is what i think but i could make the final call on it and she would fluff up some of my writing style but the actual book itself as far as the thoughts of the book, i have written them. i didn't have a ghost writer who gave me the material, but i wrote them myself and sherry, as editor, would help me. >> where did you write it? >> the wrote the book in india. >> where? >> angola, at the beach in india, goa indian ocean. i was five minutes from the dalai lama's residence. i wrote the book in goa and wrote it basically in 60 days between goa and darmasal, india. >> how did you write it? longhand dictate it?
7:27 pm
>> i had one of those, you speak into this mic and i ended that within two days so i actually would sit down on word, on the computer go to either down by the ocean, would go to the tea shops and i would type it up and i would send it to sherry and we would just start, after my outline i put together, we would start chapter by chapter. i returned then to newark, ohio, and did editing from my return around may 31, i returned and did editing all the way up to january to when we pushed the send button and produced the bill -- or the book. i said the bill. >> who did they publish? why did they publish? >> that's ellen ratner. she opened her own publishing company. she decided she would be able to do it herself. right now they have mural hemingway, a book by sherry johnson, who is my editor, has published a book about her daughter sholean, who is
7:28 pm
ellen's partner. and myself, i think they have maybe two other people so it's a new publishing company. >> there's another media person in here besides ellen ratner you write about. john bresnahan from politico. you don't care a lot for bres ma han and tell us why. >> at that time, he spent to my press contact, brian walsh an email. email brought the email in and it clearly said in this bad language of what he was going to do to mr. ney and when i said to brian, i said, i want that email because i wanted it. it was one those emails you don't want have into the hands of other people but brian gave me the email. and i had been told by some of abramoff's people that john breshnahan was getting information from jack abramoff for stories as this whole thing was going down because jack was quite secluded from the press as
7:29 pm
you can imagine after "the washington post" and the "new york times" and everybody under the sun was going after him, and breshnahan was doing stories but at that point in time i was told also point blank by jack abramoff's people that jack was angry at me. i had used the word that he duped me, and tom delay was still standing up for him. as a result, breshnahan was helping to do some stories that would cause me heartburn because jack was feeding him items of what we did, where we went et cetera. that was one. second is the fact that the whistleblower that really started this, emily miller -- everybody says emily miller started all of this. she didn't. the whistleblower was tom rogers. he's a native american, the first one that uncovered, rightfully so, the dealings with jack abramoff and myself and jack and the indian tribes.
7:30 pm
tom rogers confronted jack recently and said were your people in cash games with reporters? high stakes card games with reporters? members of congress and lobbyists? at that time i had played cards with breshnahan, i had paid breshnahan money towards the last year i was trouble and i knew they had card games going. i felt that was important to reveal in the process, i didn't think that should occur, and i felt breshnahan had his cake and eat it too, in the way he would carry out stories on people and yet he himself as a reporter was making terrible violations of the rules and the ethics and even the smell of the ethics involved with staffers and lobbyists in the card games. the other thing is that was there an arrangement of jack abramoff and i said role call" to "by the hill" magazine and he would be the editor and jack had
7:31 pm
a marvelous plan where he could control media and stories of lobbyists he was dealing with. >> you accused john breshnahan of taking money but you say -- >> playing cash games. >> you say in the book you let him win the card games. >> i don't say that breshnahan knew that. i'm sitting there. i'm in trouble. i'm scrambling for my life. i'm sitting there for the right or the wrong of it in a card game with a reporter and i have a pretty good hand and i'm going to fold that hand and lose $268 some dollars. that's my intention. i'm not saying that breshnahan said to do that. i'm not saying he knew that i did that but i did it. >> what has he done wrong then? >> i don't think as a reporter you should be in cash games with members of congress or cash games with lobbyists. how many lobbyists are folding hands to make someone happy? maybe they did it with me. >> i wrote down you talk about the money whores in d.c.
7:32 pm
who are the money whores? >> i think the system itself is dysfunctional. john mccain was going to clean up the system. we were not going to have money. it's proliferated into a nuclear war of campaign funds. you have the george sorris' to the left karl rove s. i believe much is about money. i'm asked if there's good or bad members of congress. plenty of good members of congress and there are people that have gotten in trouble for unethical activities but the system itself is doomed to corruption. anything jack abramoff and i did -- i ate sushi with jack abramoff i drank scotch with
7:33 pm
jack abramoff. anything we did is codified in the united states law. if i am a lobbyist and brian you're a congressman today, i give true examples in the book that have happened and i put the examples in the book sometimes with names omitted for a reason because i can produce names. but if i want to, i can take you to alaska, we can hunt. we can have a $3,000 or $4,000 dinner, better food than jack had and i can raise you $75,000. i can take you, a staffer, maybe some of your family, fly you as a congressman to las vegas. we can have a $2,000 or $3,000 dinner and raise you $1 25,000, it's all legal. alice fisher in her announcement
7:34 pm
i did a lot of wrong things but for using a loj for a fundraiser? give me a break. >> what is a loj? >> a loj is a private box. you go to them, you watch the game and you have a fundraiser. it's done today. those are the things they say he used the private lounge. it's done constantly for fundraisers. >> here's some video. tom rogers you mentioned. i want you to tell us what role he played. >> my role is very small. there's not too many native americans in the country for a reason. and also what happened was is i had people who trusted me, who came to me and they came to me in the year 2002. i walked into the bar and i looked for somebody who looked like they were looking for somebody and up walks this young -- or gentleman, ernest
7:35 pm
hickey, former chairman of the kashadas. and he said tom rogers is earnest and he said tell me your story and i said, tom, we are paying tens of millions of dollarsy to a lobbyist. he said, jack abramoff? he said, yes, and i don't know what we're getting for it. that was the constant narrative. >> how did he play such a significant role? >> there's two movies, alex gibbon and money. i was in there, tom rogers was in there. neil volts and then there's the movie by kevin spacey, and i like spacey, but that's the hollywood movie. it shows emily miller who was scorned by michael scanlon who started all this. >> scanlon? >> scanlon was the business partner of jack abramoff. >> worked for tom delay?
7:36 pm
>> he worked for tom delay. he was the connection. abramoff was close to delay, et cetera. emily miller didn't start all of this. that was a hollywood version and misdomer in the media. tom rogers started all of this and i praise him for starting all of this. if i had anger in me, i would say, that guy did this to me. he didn't. he stood up on behalf of native americans and found something that didn't look right didn't smell right. anybody can represent clients but when you get to a certain level and use members of congress to verify that this is a great lobbyist, you ought to keep hiring him and the native americans unfortunately aren't getting much of a return on it, it's not a healthy situation. tom rogers told the truth when he found it out and i give tom rogers credit. he's the man that got this ball rolling. >> fox com, what's that story? >> fox com was one of the more
7:37 pm
interesting elements. the federal government wanted to indict me for fox com com pretty bad. pretty alice was salivating for this one but the actual providers were ones that decided it. members of congress, their time is extremely valuable and when they go to vote they usually go underground or above ground. when you go underground, cell phones would not work. chairman bill thomas of california, chairman of the house administration committee. there was a contract to wire under the capitol on the house side these devices that would repeat signals so members of congress could use cell phones is the bottom line. there were two companies. l.g.c. and fox co com. two members of congress were supporting each company. but fox com was a tel aviv based company. it had american connections and offices but it was originally
7:38 pm
from tel aviv and israel so bill thomas did not want to get in between the two members of congress and as he went out as chairman and i went in as chairman he let the contract sit. when i got in there, bill livinggood, sergeant of arms, we talked. he said i don't like having the repeats. would you hold off on this? i said sure, we'll do that. jack abramoff represented fox com. haley barbour representing l.g.c. so, of course, those two companies contacted us as jack abramoff did and haley barbour did and they wanted to see if their clients could get the fox com contract or the l.g.c. contract but i put it by the wayside at bill livinggood's request. i was serious about the security
7:39 pm
later members of congress complained so we looked back into it. i called the n.s.a., national security agency, they came to my office. we privately met and bill livinggoodwas involved in this meeting. tell me what is the bottom line of this security aspect and they looked at this and we went to a skiff room in the capitol. that's a private room, nothing bounces in, nothing bounces out. i won't reveal the information today and they said it's ok to do these if we do them this way. doesn't matter which company does them. the israel-based company that has an american entity or the l.g.c. pure american company, doesn't matter, if we do it this way, then we're ok. made a decision to award the contract. the contract went through jay egan, administrator of the house at that time. we had the providers do a survey. the providers were sprint, verizon, at&t or whoever else.
7:40 pm
there were five of them. i can't remember the other two. they would sign off, do you want l.g.c. or do you want fox com so we had that input. the majority wanted fox com. there's one twist in this. at one point in time the word was used and this is how i met with fox com but the word "jew" was used. i have many jewish friends and israel, really well -- an israeli will say, i'm a jew she's a jew, he's a jew. you can refer that way but when you use it in another way, it's a derogatory way to use the word. >> let me read what you wrote. "the gist of the story involves neil volts not as lobbyist but as staff director for the house administration committee, haley barbour, the lobbyist, for l.g.c.
7:41 pm
called neil. he had an air of, hey it's hailey, need this one." >> neil volz can verify this. halle was the head of the republican national committee. he was the money guy. you wanted to raise money, you need haley barbour. >> he was acting as a lobbyist for l.g.c. >> who is against jack abramoff, lobbyist for fox com. >> neil told me that at one point haily said something to the effect that he was fairly busy and "have bob call me on this some time." is that normal? >> it probably happens today i've done it. neil's point at that time, was it was flippant. hey, i'm busy, have bob call me. >> let me finish this -- you
7:42 pm
don't say this but are you talking about haley barbour saying this? >> yes. >> so he said that referring to it as a jew company. >> and neil volz directly brought that to me. that's what happened. but it transcended from there. because -- and i believe jack seized this, jack abramoff, to get fox com before me which the government said, you met with fox com and i did because of the jewish issue, not the contract. this got around. whether jack picked it up or whatever, jack came into me personally andy remember what he said. he said, listen, this isn't about the contract, this isn't about money, this is about your reputation with the jewish community and you may be
7:43 pm
anti-jewish. i said, that's ridiculous. i support the israelis. he said we got to clear this up, not about money. he brings fox com officials in, they sit there. he said we want to clear this up about bob because a-pac was supposedly mad and this was getting around town and at that point in time i said listen, i don't know if you're going to get this contract or not but as far as not getting the contract because you are an israeli company, that is absurd so jack said that's my point. knowing jack abramoff -- as neil volz said he could talk a dog off a meat truck. he was a chameleon. he could be who you thought he would be. possibly jack abramoff found out about this and seized it to get fox com before me. that's possible. so the government when they said to our attorneys he sat with fox com, yes, i sat with fox com because the slur was part of my
7:44 pm
political problem. >> who got the contract? >> fox coh got the contract. >> what kind of rights do you have when it comes to congress? can you go on the house floor? >> yes. i can go on the house floor. i have full privileges of the house. i can take people on the house floor. speaker pelosi, i would call her office. the only problem i had was boehner's office. took him 10 days, his personal attorney called me, wanted to know if i was trading a job to bring former constituents on the floor. but otherwise, i have privileges of the house. >> have you been back over there? >> yes, i was there this morning. >> how do they treat you? >> i have been treated well. the first time i got out of prison in 2008, working for ellen ratner and she wanted to go to the house dining room with reporters for dinner so i called but i said i'm not going to the dining room, ellen. she said you need to and i said, i can't, i haven't been back in the capitol, i had a lot of shame and i had friends in the capitol but it's not good for
7:45 pm
me. i didn't feel. so she said just walk over and as i walked in, i had my former member's card that has my picture on it when i was a member and i'll never forget this the police officer standing there, i go to pull the cart out he says, welcome back, mr. chairman, that card's not needed here. and i walked into the house dining room and a couple of ladies started crying and i saw members and we said hello, democrat and republican, and i was like wow, better than i deserved brian. better than i deserved. was a an ah-hah moment for me and returned to the capitol in 2008. >> do you get a penks? >> yes, i get a pension. you took the pensions early because all my money was gone. >> how much did your legal fees cost you? >> $518,000. >> are they paid? >> part of it's paid, part is not paid. >> how did you raise the money? >> that was a legal defense fund. i used campaign funds. i would use legal defense money but i drained my campaign funds
7:46 pm
which caused me to ask boehner for money. when i went to bare jackson karl rove was sitting in the room, but i was trying to get money to get through the election to win it. i ran out of money, won the primary and was headed into zero balance practically into the election. >> here is jack abramoff talking about you at i think it's the national press club. >> one of the reasons bob is the only one that went to prison, bob had a different issue that wasn't related to mine. he took $50,000 from casino chips from an iranian businessman, apparently, who wanted the government to give permission to sell planes to iran. now, that act, in doing it in a casino in london, is what unhinged bob. and bob pled, by the way. if he fought probably he would have been convicted. in terms of the stuff with me nobody else was indicted because
7:47 pm
a lot of the congressional action is protected under the speech and debate clause. >> you write in your book, "i am skeptical as to whether jack abramoff has learned his lesson and he is back after the mighty dollar instead of redemption." have you seen him? >> he sent me a note, sort of a god bless you. >> this story about london and the chips. >> this is the first time i'd seen this. if i read my quote now, i'm not sure. after seeing this, i am sure that jack abramoff doesn't want to be too frank about what really happened. i'm sure of that. >> what really happened? >> first of all, when jack says, well, it was the problem of the chips. i was not indicted for the chips. the government did not indict me. second, it was not an iranian businessman. he was a syrian businessman. and the other thing is, that the government had this story about i asked colin powell to try to sell airplane parts. anyone is free to call colin
7:48 pm
powell. that conversation never happened. i never asked colin powell if he would help and we would sell airplane parts to iran so when jack says, well, they got bob because of casino chips -- i did have a problem of declaring all the chips. i declared some and didn't declare others and i put that in the book. but the government didn't indict me on that. what jack abramoff is saying there is well, you know -- i know what he's saying. if bob hadn't had that problem in the casino -- i'm not saying that helped -- if he hadn't had that problem in the casino, there was nothing bob and i did that they would have convicted him for. i had a string of favors from jack abramoff. i took free food from jack abramoff that should have been reported as well as free liquor. i pled guilty. jack doesn't like the answer
7:49 pm
the very question he has created in controversy. on "60 minutes," jack abramoff said, i had 100 members in my pocket and i spent $1 million. if jack abramoff spent $1 million on 100 members and spent, say $30,000 on me, what was the difference between those members and myself? now i'm not saying i could point the finger and say this member should be indicted or not but there were others that took trips with jack abramoff, other people that signed letters for jack abramoff and other people that inserted items in the congressional record for jack abramoff. i argue that jack abramoff is not correct that he and i didn't do anything, it was the london problem. i argue that the london problem didn't help me but the rest was he and i and the rest is only known to jack abramoff. i wrote that once i went away, congress, the bad guys are in prison, they didn't have to go after anyone else. when john mccain had his senate
7:50 pm
hearing on indian affairs and dragged abramoff there, ralph reed was involved in a secret plot received money, maybe millions of dollars, to act like he wanted to close a casino, jack was to open it. that was the tigwa tribe which i said to them he was a good guy, i was culpable. he didn't drag ralph reed there he only dragged jack abramoff there and the only name mentioned was me. i did wrong things but when abramoff said even bob wouldn't have been found guilty if it wasn't for london, that is not an admission of reality. >> let me read what you said at the end talking about the press and abramoff. you said you corrected he didn't want to buy the roll call on the capitol hill, he wanted to buy the hill. but he did want to buy that and you talked about john breshnahan and you say jack knew that once
7:51 pm
i went away, his friends like delay and others would be spared. degree's legal woes are in the state of texas and had nothing to do with abramoff. the justice department totally dropped it. should tom delay have been indicted by the federal government? >> i can't answer that because i'm not alberto gonzales and i'm not jack abramoff but i will tell you this. if i was indicted for going -- if i pled because i went on a trip to scotland and tom went on a trip to scotland and tom went to the mar iona islands with jack, i didn't. the question, is that an illegal trip in itself? i don't know. the closest to jack abramoff -- jack did tom's daughter's, paid for the baby shower. tom's former chief of staff received a filtered through million dollars through jack abramoff into some type of foundation or some such thing that ed buckham received. are those all indictable? i don't know. i'm not alberto gonzales. but my point is if a jury in
7:52 pm
texas in the state, in fact, convicted tom delay, what happened here with the justice department? if these are peanut things as jack abramoff comes to the conclusion, well they couldn't indict bob, i guess we were all indictable or we all weren't. >> let me show you a picture of you standing over on saint andrew's golf course with the group. look at this picture. you are how heavy there? >> well, when i went into prison, i was 234 pounds. i ballooned completely up. i was probably 212 there. >> what are you now? >> i'll tell the truth. i was 168 when i came back from india. now 163. >> who's in the picture? the fellow in the back. >> david is savavian, still in prison maybe a year. ralph reed jack abramoff
7:53 pm
myself and some guy jack hired. >> you suggested in your book that ralph reed was on the airplane with you and it was an eight-passenger private jet. who flew you over there to scotland? >> jack abramoff. he paid for that. he didn't fly the plane. >> what year was this? >> 2000 -- >> two? >> 2002. one of those years. >> we have a picture of you, group of you standing in front of planes. has this been cleaned up in this town? can a member get -- remember this picture, jack abramoff's son in the front. >> i think probably if you do a fundraiser you might be able to do it. this part of it might have been cleaned up most likely. >> how available were planes to you when you were chairman of the administration committee? >> at one point i want to make about this trip. the trip was underreported. the trip did not turn out as we had listed it would, didn't meet with people that we were supposed to, that should have wrote a check for the trip. tom finney for florida got in
7:54 pm
trouble over the same trip, he wrote a check and he didn't go to prison. maybe if i wrote a check, i wouldn't have gone to prison. i don't know. i can't compare myself to other members of congress. i'm not in the mind of alberto gonzales. as far as this trip, it was fuzzy who paid for it. the point is as chairman of the house administration committee i could call the state department, say fire up the jets, i want to go to scotland and i want to meet with seand so-and-so and so and say three days and play golf. i could do that. so my one argument is at no point in time and everybody under the sun knew it at no point in time did i say, jack, i want to go to scotland. at no point in time. at no point in time did i say why don't you have the indian tribes pay for it. when i say jack abramoff duped me, i'm referring to one thing.
7:55 pm
when jack abramoff told the indian tribes, ney wants to take a trip and i guys do that. i didn't have to do that. i could call up the state department and go to scotland and golf for three days in a row and i wasn't even a golfer so that part of it, i have issues with jack abramoff over i did not ask him to get the indian tribes to pay for that trip. i did not need for that to happen. >> when i read your book, and you go into so much more detail than we have been able to cover here i thought, maybe a shower might be useful. not thinking about you, but thinking about this town. how much of this goes on to this day? more than anything we haven't talked about are all the staff abusing their privileges behind the scene. >> jack abramoff and i would agree on one thing if he was sitting here today, to clean this town up. everything we did is on steroids
7:56 pm
now. everything jack and i did. maybe the trips are stopped but everything's on steroids. they can do all kinds of things up here. the power games, the money games. you want to be a committee chairman. everybody on this hill knows what i say is true. you have to raise money to be part of the system. the leaders are making incredible money and control power through it. the big pharmaceutical companies, et cetera. they don't have to go to individual members, go to some of the leaders. at the end of the day on this shiny bright capitol hill are some of the most wonderful people in this country, democrat and republican, but also this is corrupt. a lot of good people, some bad people mainly good i argue but the system is broken. the barrel is corrupt. >> let me ask you a different way. if you were teaching high school or college course, would you teach an academic's view of how a bill becomes a law or would you have them read this? >> i would tell the academic
7:57 pm
process, i would have them read this and i would tell them the truth, the reality of how some of the bills become a law. it's a mixture out there. if you take away the money game and i would agree with abramoff and things i've heard him say if you want to serve in congress don't become a lobbyist, period. if you're a staffer, you don't become a lobbyist. this is not the feeding ground for the lobby circuit. take that out of it. take the money out of the system if you can. truly take it out. don't buy chairmanships of committees. don't have that nuclear campaign arms race of raising money. today, people take their staffers, follower paid, they take them to the democrat war room, i call it. they take them to the republican war room across from the capitol and they raise money on federal time. is it illegal? no. is it right? no. >> sit in the camp, and make phone calls. >> i did it, it's done today it's done as we speak. i can safely say somebody's doing it. let's take that side of it out.
7:58 pm
there's a lot of changes that today speaker boehner and minority leader pelosi could join hands today and within 24 hours have such a dynamic change on that hill and allow these good people that are up there democrats and republicans to function. >> we haven't got any time left but when was the last time you had a drink? >> september 13, 2006. >> a.a. every day? >> about four times a week. >> and i assume when you're talking about -- >> 12-step recovery, i'm sorry. it's 12-step recovery, traditions of a.a. >> i assume when you're referring to old bill, you're talking about bill wilson? >> i'm talking about my friend in ohio, bill and judy. i do 12-step recovery because the traditions ofa. a. we don't talk about a.a. i do 12-step recovery. >> the name of the book is "sideswiped" -- "sideswiped: lessons learned courtesy of the hit men of capitol hill." our guest has been robert w.
7:59 pm
ney, former congressman from ohio. we thank you very much. [captions performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] >> for a dvd copy of this program call this number. for free transcripts or to give us your comments, visit us at queuing day.org. transfers are also available as c-span podcast. . >> the 114th congress gavels in this tuesday. watch the senate live on c-span2.
8:00 pm
have your say as events unfold on c-span networks, c-span radio, and c-span.org. new congress, best access on c-span. >> a series of discussions on . we will hear from walt cunningham on the space race against the russians. then craig olson and richard garriott talk about when life is like on the international space station. now, conversations with astronauts and private citizens who have flown into space. we begin with walter cunningham, the lunar module pilot on apollo seven. nasa's third civilian astronaut talked about the early apollo missions, the space race with the russians, and future of nasa

68 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on