Tony Rudy

May 11, 2006


A lobbyist tied to Jack Abramoff has pled guilty to conspiracy. Tony Rudy like “Casino Jack” Abramoff did work for PRIMEDIA and Channel One Network along with other firms. Rudy’s and Abramoff’s troubles don’t have anything to do with Channel One, but the public needs to know the type of people that Channel One hired to represent them on Capitol Hill, at the Department of Education and before other government agencies.

Both Rudy and Abramoff are now talking with federal prosecutors in an effort to decrease their jail time. Abramoff, facing the most years behind bars, is reportedly “singing like a canary.”

When a corporation hires a lobbyist to help the corporation with government officials, it is expected that the lobbyist will work within the limits of the law.

When a lobbyist is convicted of felony deeds, all the clients of that lobbyist have to be extremely concerned for at least two reasons. First, a lobbyist who violates the law may not have limited his or her misdeeds to the clients already known to the courts. The same disregard for the law which motivated certain behavior for one client may influence behavior for other clients without those clients knowledge or approval. Second, when lobbyists like Abramoff and Rudy have agreed to “turn state’s evidence” in exchange for lighter sentences, there is concern that they will say things that “just aren’t so” in order to give federal prosecutors more reason to justify less years behind bars.

Obligation’s Jim Metrock said, “Obligation’s efforts to raise awareness of Channel One’s onerous grip on public schools suffered mightily at the hands of Channel One’s expensive and powerful lobbying team. Today, two members of that team are within months of entering a federal penitentiary. Channel One has always been obsessed with lobbying. They have spent millions on lobbying when they should have been spending that money on making their program more acceptable. A program that has real value doesn’t need an army of lobbyists.”

Disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s media clients included the Magazine Publishers Association (MPA) and Primedia. For MPA, Abramoff “and an unidentified Congressional aide worked to stave off an increase in postal rates – a significant benefit for an industry that depends on the postal service,” reported the New York Times.

In 2000, MPA contributed $25,000 to “Toward Tradition,” a group Abramoff allegedly used to funnel money. Primedia employed Abramoff and associate Tony Rudy from 1999 through 2003, to lobby for Channel One. “Although it is not clear what Mr. Abramoff’s firm did for Channel One, the network has faced a number of legislative threats,” reports AdAge, including proposed “regulations to limit how marketers reach students. Channel One also derived much of its ad revenue from government agencies, including the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and military recruitment efforts.” A Primedia spokesman said Abramoff’s Channel One work “did not include any effort to secure government agency advertising.”

Source: Advertising Age, January 11, 2006

Guilty Plea 

Rudy appeared in federal court in Washington, D.C. March 31, 2006, and pled guilty “in a case stemming from the corruption probe of lobbyist Jack Abramoff, bringing the scandal closer to the door of his one-time boss, Representative Tom DeLay,” Bloomberg News reported.  Rudy “promised to cooperate with a federal investigation of bribery and lobbying fraud that has so far netted three convictions and prompted calls for ethics reform in Congress,” the Associated Press reported. “He faces up to five years in prison, but could receive much less based on the extent of his help with the investigation, U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle told Rudy at a court hearing in Washington.”

Rudy, who resigned as DeLay’s deputy chief of staff in 2001, is the first person to plead guilty to charges in the case since Abramoff pleaded guilty to fraud charges in January. Michael Scanlon, a former DeLay press secretary who later became a lobbying partner with Abramoff, pleaded guilty to bribing public officials in November,” the AP said. “The plea agreement contains no allegations that DeLay, who it describes as Representative 2, did anything wrong.”

Influence Peddling
Investigators are looking into whether Rudy aided Abramoff’s lobbying clients while he was working on the Hill, … and are reviewing payments from Abramoff clients and associates to Liberty Consulting, a political firm founded by Rudy’s wife, Lisa. The Washington Post reported [in October 2005] that Rudy, while on DeLay’s staff, helped scuttle a bill opposed by eLottery Inc., an Abramoff client, and that Abramoff had eLottery pay a foundation to hire Liberty Consulting,” Susan Schmidt and James Grimaldi, reported in the November 26, 2005, Washington Post.

Source: Sourcewatch

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