Ohio2006 Blog

News, analysis, and comments on Ohio elections.

Thursday, October 26

Cong OH-14: LaTourette (R) Hasn't Returned Money From Ney, Volz, or Abramoff Clients

I have posted before on the links between Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Concord Township) and guilty-but-still-on-the-payroll Rep. Bob Ney (R-Heath) -- best man at his recent second marriage -- and convicted Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, as well as convicted felon Neil Volz who was associated with both Ney and Abramoff. Now the campaign of challenger Lew Katz (D-Chesterland) is asking a good question -- why isn't LaTourette returning donations from Ney and Volz, and the earlier of two donations he received from Abramoff's well-known client, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians?

After disgraced former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay pleaded guilty, LaTourette returned DeLay's $13,000 in contributions in the form of a donation to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund. He also returned a single $1,000 donation from the Choctaw Indians with the statement, "I didn't ask for the money and said to send it back."

The problem is, that's not nearly all there is. Bob Ney and Neil Volz are now convicted felons, too, just like DeLay. In the 2004 election cycle, LaTourette received $10,000 from Ney's PAC and $1,000 from Volz.

LaTourette also received an earlier donation of $500 from the Choctaw Indians (in October 2003) that he has not returned.

"That's great that he returned the second $1,000," says Katz, "But why did he keep the first donation of $500? Did he ask for that one? That was the donation given a month or so after he wrote the infamous letter on behalf of Jack Abramoff that coincides with the other $500 donations by the Ratner, Salzberg, and Miller families."

"More importantly, why has the press not demanded that LaTourette give Ney's and Volz's money back and not pushed for him to do what's right? This is dirty money, and he must give it back," states Katz.

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