ST. ANDREWS UPDATE….Scotland: land of heather, whiskey, and golf. Especially golf. $100,000 golf outings, to be exact.

Like Tom DeLay, Ohio congressman Bob Ney has a weakness for expensive Scottish golf vacations. Also like DeLay, he doesn’t seem to care much who pays for them. In the American Prospect this month, Art Levine tells the tale of Ney’s dealings with super lobbyist Jack Abramoff, the $100,000 golfing trip Abramoff paid for, and Ney’s pathetic cover story that the trip was really designed to gain support for one of his favorite charities:

That charitable outfit was the Capital Athletic Foundation, an Abramoff front. Why Ney would have to go golfing in Scotland or visit the Parliament there to assist an American-based charity remains an unsolved mystery ? as does his interest in sponsoring legislation for a Texas tribe far from his rural Ohio district.

….In February 2002, Abramoff and Scanlon signed up the [Tigua] tribe as a client, trading in part on their close ties to DeLay and on Abramoff’s claim that he would work for free to win the tribe’s business later. By March, Abramoff had enlisted the Ohio congressman. As he told Scanlon in an e-mail: “Just met with Ney!!! We’re f’ing gold!!! He’s going to do Tigua.” A week later, Abramoff wrote to Texas-based lobbyist Marc Schwartz, explaining that the tribe needed to contribute to Ney’s campaign and political action committees ? and tribal leaders soon forked over $32,000. By April, Scanlon indicated to Schwartz that Dodd was on board, too.

Soon, however, the congressman required still more favors. In June, Abramoff wrote to Schwartz again: “Our friend [Ney] asked if we could…cover a Scotland golf trip for him and some staff…and members in August,” just like the trip DeLay had taken two years earlier. Briefing Scottish parliamentarians about an American charity doesn’t seem to have been a top priority of Ney’s trip (although he did actually visit the Parliament in Edinburgh for what a staffer there describes as a “brief courtesy call”).

Read the whole thing to get all the sordid details. The good stuff starts about halfway through.

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