Tuesday, April 24, 2007

As the Abramoff Cookie Crumbles, So Does Feeney

Tom Feeney, waiting to be unveiled as the corrupt Delay crony, has finally gotten some decent attention for his dealings with Jack Abramoff.

As you may recall, Feeney was on the famous Scotland golf trip that cost Abramoff a cool $160,000. Just as the Dems took control of Congress, he agreed to pay back his $5,640 portion of the trip. He said he didn't know that Abramoff had paid for it.

Now, the FBI has requested information from reporters at both the St. Petersburg Times and the Orlando Sentinel. A Sentinel columnist, Scott Maxwell, shared this in his blog today:

It's not every day the FBI comes asking for my notes and records. But an agent did so just last week -- wanting whatever I could give him about Tom Feeney and Jack Abramoff. He wanted e-mail, maybe notes as well, from as far back as two years ago.
You might want to read the whole thing as it has a pretty good run-down of how Feeney's then Chief of Staff, Jason Roe, handled it. Of course, he apologized to the lobbyist, not to the constituents.

Tom Feeney was a Delay man. When Delay went down and his ARMPAC money was returned by many Republican recipients, Feeney, a $10,000 man, held on to his. Maybe he knew he'd need it for legal fees.

But I wonder if this story doesn't have a US Attorney angle tied to it. Earlier, I posted on Senator Nelson's request for information on why Paul Perez, the US Attorney for the Middle District of Florida - Feeney's district, had resigned in March 2007.

The angle had to do with a letter that several of the purged attorneys had signed and Perez was among them. But the timing, especially now, makes me wonder if the US Attorney scandal hasn't claimed another. Here's what Perez had to say about his leaving:
As U.S. Attorney, “you serve at the pleasure of the President, but you know you don’t get appointed for life,” Perez told the Tampa Tribune. “I wanted to make sure I left on my own terms.” Perez is taking a job as chief compliance officer at Fidelity National Financial, a big publicly traded insurance outfit based in Jacksonville.
My emphasis added. Does it sound like Perez thought he was on the block? Did his office have anything going on Feeney/Abramoff at the time? By the way - compliance officer???

I don't know if something is here, but we have another US District with a corruption inquiry where the US Attorney in charge of the District resigned. It smells.

UPDATE: I called the US Attorney's Office in Orlando to ask if they were a part of the investigation into Feeney or whether the FBI was initiating it on its own. They indicated that it could be either but that it would be inappropriate to comment. But, they did want to know whether I had any relevant paperwork or information.