Thursday, December 08, 2005

Pombo Staffers on the Abramoff Gravy Train

The other day I quoted Josh Marshall calling Richard Pombo “an Abramoff freebie-meister” after Pombo denied ever using the now infamous Abramoff luxury skyboxes. At the time, I pointed out that whereas Pombo might be telling the truth about himself, it did not mean that nobody from his office used the skyboxes.

Today, Josh Marshall has published a list of Pombo staffers who accepted tickets, and to what events. (Hat tip, Tom Hilton). This confirms two things we knew. First, Pombo’s former Press Secretary Doug Heye has horrible taste in entertainment. WWF? My response: WTF? Really? Come on. Okay, maybe he has a child or something. I just hope he didn’t take a date to the circus. That’s all I’m saying. But second, and more important, is that Pombo’s staffers, even when he was a junior member of the House Resources Committee, still were very much aboard the Abramoff gravy train. Check out the list (source):

  • February 15th, 2000, Capitals/Avalanche Hockey GameTodd Willens, Legislative Director, 4 tickets
  • March 24th, 2000, CircusDouge [sic] Heye, Press Secretary, 2 tickets
  • April 30th, 2000, WWF Backlash LiveDoug Heye, Press Secretary, 2 tickets
  • August 6th 2000, WWF Attitude (with appearances by The Rock, Triple H, The Big Show, Chyna, Chris Jericho and the Undertaker), MCI Center.Doug Heye, Press Secretary, 2 tickets
  • October 2nd, 2000 WWF Raw Is War, MCI Center.Doug Heye, Press Secretary, 2 tickets

It’s important to note that these were not junior staffers. Nor have they left the legislature.

Doug Heye, who now apparently works for Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina, was the Brian Kennedy of his day.

And Todd Willens has been promoted to Senior Policy Director of the House Resources Committee. This means that the Senior Policy Director of the committee that oversees Native American tribes received at least four skybox seats gratis from a lobbyist representing those very tribes. In fact, the cost of that very skybox was largely paid by money from the tribes that the Resource Committee oversees.

Not only does this raise troubling ethical questions, but it also raises the question about whether Pombo tolerated such unethical behavior. The promotion of Todd Willens certainly lends credence to the idea that he did and that this tolerance continues to this day.


Blogger Tom Hilton said...

Good stuff--this is clearer than my post was (I've corrected mine).

By the way, any idea who the person is who's looking around here and at my site?

2:57 PM, December 08, 2005  
Blogger Matt said...

I don't know who it is, but there are at least three different computers involved. Whether that means one office with three staffers, or three offices with one staffer, I don't know. But unless they're managing to change their OS from minute to minute, there are at least three of them.

P.S. I don't think I have your e-mail. Shoot me an e-mail so we can talk more about this privately.

4:11 PM, December 08, 2005  
Blogger Wes said...

I don't know who the staffer is either, but after I commented on PomboWatch that his agricultural page was about 2 years out of date and that the talking points page was blank, it only took 2 days to have that whole section of Pombo's site refreshed.

I can't tell you the name, but I know who they work for.

7:56 PM, December 08, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is an email going around indicating that Margee Ensign has cancelled her Blackhawk fundraiser and is reconsidering her candidacy. (?!)

12:57 PM, December 09, 2005  
Blogger Matt said...

I have sent Ensign an e-mail about this rumor.


Could you please forward me the e-mail you are talking about?

1:05 PM, December 09, 2005  
Blogger Matt said...

I've confirmed that the Blackhawk fundraiser is cancelled. But I don't have any concrete information about Ensign's candidacy. I'll post something once I hear from Ensign or her campaign.

1:51 PM, December 09, 2005  

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