Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Photo Shows Ney in Meeting With Tribe

WASHINGTON (AP) -- An Indian tribe that was a client of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff has released a photograph of tribal leaders meeting with Rep. Bob Ney, who had told investigators he wasn't familiar with the tribe.

The photo shows the Tigua tribe's Lt. Gov. Carlos Hisa and tribal council member Raul Gutierrez with Ney in a House hearing room on Aug. 14, 2002, less than a week after Ney finished an expenses-paid golf trip to Scotland with Abramoff and others.

On Nov. 12, 2004, while being interviewed by Senate investigators, Ney said he could not recall meeting with the Tigua.

After the interview, Ney's lawyer said the congressman's calendar did list a half-hour meeting with the ''Taqua.'' Ney's spokesman Brian Walsh now says Ney may not have recognized the name ''Tigua'' because of the tribe's formal name, the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo.

''Ney takes literally thousands of pictures with people visiting D.C. every year and he is supposed to remember every one of them?'' Walsh said.

According to testimony by Hisa and tribal spokesman Marc Schwartz, Ney met for 1 1/2 hours with Hisa, Gutierrez, Schwartz and Abramoff, and assured them that he was working to put a provision in an election-reform bill that would allow the tribe to reopen its shuttered casino. Ney also praised Abramoff as ''the man to work with for changes in Washington,'' Hisa said. The Tigua provision did not make it into the final legislation.