Sunday, June 24, 2007

Representative #3 Starts Legal Defense Fund

There should be no doubt that Tom Feeney is in trouble.

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Rep. Tom Feeney established a legal defense fund this week to defray costs relating to an ongoing federal inquiry into his ties with convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Department of Justice lawyers and our lawyers have been speaking. We will cooperate," said the Oviedo Republican, who denied Friday that he is the target of a federal probe.

When asked why he established the fund, Feeney said he was being cautious and that it would be used to "demonstrate conclusively that I always have acted with honesty and integrity."

Tom Delay was making the same pronouncements when he set up his legal defense fund. It was so convincing that Delay decided not to run for another term. All this is interesting, considering how Feeney told the media he is not a target of an investigation.

Let's review Feeney's Abramoff history. Feeney was interviewed by the FBI about his Scotland golfing trip paid for by Abramoff. Feeney was forced to reinburse the U.S. Treasury $5,643 for violating House ethics rules.

The FBI did something highly unusual. They asked the St. Petersburg Times and Orlando Sentinel about emails they received from Feeney's office. Sentinel columnist Scott Maxwell wrote, "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."

Feeney is known as Representative #3 in FBI documents.

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