Conviction, indictments and investigations

Recent Convictions, Indictments and Investigations of Members of Congress and Executive Branch Officials


* = linked to Abramoff scandal

I.   Congressional Members

   A.   Convicted

  • Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham: pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud, wire fraud, and tax evasion; sentenced to 100 months in prison and $1.8 million in restitution.
  • *Rep. Bob Ney: pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit fraud and making false statements in connection with Abramoff; sentenced to 30 months in prison, $6,000 in fines, and 200 hours of community service.
  • Sen. Larry Craig: pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in a sex solicitation case in Minneapolis; also under investigation by the senate ethics committee for covering up the case.

   B.   Indicted

  • Rep. Tom DeLay: indicted by a Texas grand jury on charges of conspiracy and money laundering. A Texas county court judge threw out the charge that he violated state campaign finance laws, and the Texas Third Court of Appeals and Texas Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the ruling. Additionally, he was named in the Abramoff investigation when two of his staffers entered guilty pleas, but he was never indicted.
  • Rep. William Jefferson: indicted for wire fraud, soliciting bribes, violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, money laundering, racketeering, and obstructing justice. 
  • Rep. Rick Renzi: under FBI investigation for land-swap and military-contractor legislation that benefits his former business partner and his father’s employer, respectively. Indicted on 35 charges, including conspiracy and money laundering.
  • Former Rep. Mark D. Siljander: representative 1981-1987; indicted in 2008 for funding (possibly in a fraudulent manner) an Islamic charity accused of funneling money to an Islamic warlord during 2003-2004.

   C.   Under Investigation

  • *Rep. John Doolittle: under investigation by the DOJ in connection with Abramoff. Not seeking another term in 2008.
  • *Rep. Tom Feeney: under FBI investigation in connection with Abramoff; named as “Lawmaker #3” in Zachares’s guilty plea.
  • Rep. Mark Foley: under investigation by the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, FBI, and Florida Attorney General’s Child Predator Cybercrime Unit for “Pagegate.”
  • Rep. Jerry Lewis: under federal investigation for trading legislative favors for campaign contributions.
  • Rep. Allan Mollohan: under FBI investigation for receiving (but not reporting) campaign contributions from officials connected to organizations that profited from earmarks.
  • Sen. Ted Stevens: under FBI and IRS investigation for trading home renovation for congressional support for Alaskan oil giant VECO. He is also under FBI investigation for procuring $50 million in earmarks for the Alaska SeaLife Center in connection with his son and former aide.
  • Rep. Don Young: under investigation for taking bribes, illegal gratuities, and unreported gifts from VECO in connection with Stevens. Additionally, a senior staffer pleaded guilty in the Abramoff case, but he was never indicted.
  • Rep. Robert Menendez: under investigation for unfairly funding projects of a lobbyist / former aide.
  • Rep. Gary Miller: under investigation for allegedly using his congressional influence to evade taxes on a $10 million land deal, receiving a $7.5 million loan from a campaign contributor, and using his office to close an airport that affected a land development project of the campaign contributor.
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski: a complaint with the senate ethics committee is pending regarding a sweet-heart land deal between Murkowski and a campaign contributor; Murkowski has since backed away from the land deal.
  • Rep. Ken Calvert: under investigation for sponsoring several different earmarks that increased the value of property owned by Calvert. One such earmark profited Calvert and a partner an estimated $500,000 in one year.


II.    Congressional Staff

A.    Convicted

  • *John Albaugh: former chief of staff to Rep. Istook; pleaded guilty to conspiracy with Ring; sentencing scheduled for September 2008.
  • *William Heaton: Ney’s former executive assistant on the House Administration Committee and chief of staff; pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud in connection with Abramoff and sentenced only to community service and 2 years probation because of assistance provided to investigators.
  • Brett Pfeffer: former Jefferson aide; pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit and aiding and abetting bribery; sentenced to 8 years in prison.
  • *Tony Rudy: former DeLay deputy chief of staff; pleaded guilty to conspiracy in connection with Abramoff; sentencing scheduled for September 2008.
  • *Michael Scanlon: former DeLay press aide; pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery in connection with Abramoff; sentencing late June 2008.
  • *Neil Volz: former Ney chief of staff; pleaded guilty to conspiracy in connection with Abramoff; sentenced to 2 years probation and fined $2,000.
  • *Mark Zachares: former Young senior staffer on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee; pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with Abramoff; sentencing September 2008.

B. Indicted

  • Jim Ellis: former DeLay PAC executive director; indicted in Texas for violating election laws, criminal conspiracy, and money laundering in connection with DeLay’s PAC.

B. Under Investigation

  • *Ed Buckham: former DeLay chief of staff-turned-chairman of the lobbying firm Alexander Strategy Group; under investigation in connection with Abramoff. Rudy’s guilty plea includes Buckham as “Lobbyist B.” It also names him as a beneficiary of Rudy’s scheme to take other congressional aides on a trip to the Northern Mariana Islands.
  • Trevor McCabe: former Stevens aide; under FBI and Department of Interior investigation for a series of Stevens-sponsored earmarks that benefit the Alaska SeaLife Center, a nonprofit involved in a land deal with McCabe in connection with Stevens’ son.
  • Jeff Shockey: deputy staff director for Rep. Lewis; under investigation for participating in an earmarks-for-benefits scheme. Accepted a $2 million buy-out from the Copeland et al. lobbying firm as he returned to work for Rep. Lewis. Federal investigation ongoing.
  • Leticia White: former staffer for Defense earmarks; now employed as a lobbyist at Copeland et al., a lobbying firm alleged to be involved in an earmarks-for-benefits scheme. She accepted a cut in congressional salary allegedly to avoid the revolving door restriction as she moved back into the lobbying community.


III. Executive Employees

    A. Convicted

  • Claude Allen: former Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy; pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft for a $5,000 refund scam; sentenced to $850 in fines and 1 month of probation.
  • Lester Crawford: former commissioner for the Food and Drug Administration; pleaded guilty to filing a false financial disclosure and conflict of interest for falsely claiming to have sold his stock in the companies that he was responsible for regulating; sentenced to $90,000 in fines and 3 years of probation.
  • *Robert Coughlin: former deputy chief of staff at the Justice Department’s criminal division; pleaded guilty to conflict-of-interest charge for accepting various gifts from Abramoff and Ring; sentencing September 2008.
  • Brian Doyle: former deputy press secretary for the United States Department of Homeland Security; pleaded no contest to sending sexually explicit IMs and clips to an undercover officer posing as a 14-year-old girl; sentenced to 5 years in state prison.
  • *Italia Federici: former political aide to Interior Secretary Norton; facilitated communication between Abramoff and Griles; pleaded guilty to obstruction of the Senate’s Abramoff investigation; avoided prison sentence due to cooperation.
  • Robert Fromm: former program manager at the Army’s National Ground Intelligence Center; investigated in connection with Cunningham; defense contractor Wade’s guilty plea identified from as the “Official” who traded Wade’s job offers for government contracts; pleaded guilty to violating lifetime post-employment ban; sentenced to 1 year on probation and fined $2,500.
  • *J. Steven Griles: former deputy secretary for the Department of Interior; pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in connection with Abramoff; sentenced to 10 months in prison and $30,000 in fines.
  • Lewis “Scooter” Libby: former Assistant to the President, Chief of Staff to the Vice President, and Assistant to the Vice President for National Security Affairs; convicted of obstructing justice, perjury, and making false statements to federal investigators in the leak of CIA agent “Valerie Plame’s” identity; sentenced to 30 months in federal prison, $250,000 in fines, 2 years of supervised release, and 400 hours of community service. President Bush commuted the prison term.
  • *David Safavian: former chief of staff for the Office of Management and Budget; convicted of making false statements and obstructing justice in connection with Abramoff; sentenced to 18 months in prison.
  • *Roger Stillwell: former officer in charge of the Northern Mariana Islands Stillwell in the Office of Insular Affairs at the Department of Interior; pleaded guilty to filing a false financial statement in connection with Abramoff; sentenced to $1000 in fines and 2 years of probation.
  • Brent Wilkes: GOP fundraiser/Bush pioneer/finance co-chair for the Bush campaign in California; charged with fraud and other offenses in connection with Cunningham. Three months later, the indictment was expanded to include more than 30 charges against his dealings with Foggo, including fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering. Convicted on 13 counts; sentenced to 12 years in prison.

B. Indicted

  • Kyle “Dusty” Foggo: former executive director of the CIA; charged with fraud and other offenses in connection with Cunningham. Three months later, the indictment was expanded to include more than 30 charges against his dealings with defense contractor Wilkes, including fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering.
  • Daniel Gonzalez: chief of staff for FCC chairman Kevin Martin; on board of energy company which participated in fraudulent Ponzi scheme.

C. Under Investigation

  • Alberto Gonzales: former Attorney General; under investigation for improperly firing at least seven U.S. attorneys. Numerous other administration officials are also under investigation in this matter.
  • Jose Rodriguez: former CIA official; under investigation for purposely destroying tapes depicting CIA torture of detainees.

IV. Abramoff Scandal Convictions

NOTE: not all Abramoff-related convictions are included on the above list, as businessmen and lobbyists do not fall into the categories under analysis; the list below is more complete. Most of the Abramoff-related corruption cases are being handled by Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Plead guilty
Jack Abramoff
John Albaugh
Jared Carpenter
Robert Coughlin
Italia Federici
J. Steven Griles
William Heaton
Adam Kidan
Bob Ney
Tony Rudy
Michael Scanlon
Roger Stillwell
Neil Volz
Mark Zachares

David Safavian

Named but not charged
Ed Buckham
Tom DeLay
Tom Feeney
Ernest Istook
Kevin A. Ring

Source: Matthew DuPont, Xenia Tashlitsky and Craig Holman
Public Citizen
215 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE
Washington, D.C. 20003

Updated June 5, 2008