Jack Abramoff and Todd Boulanger (right)
Nedra Pickler of the Associated Press reports what we all expected:
A former deputy to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty Friday to lavishing congressional staffers with gifts including an all-expense paid trip to the World Series, box seats at concerts and fancy restaurant tabs.
Todd Boulanger admitted to U.S. District Judge Richard W. Roberts that he provided tens of thousands of dollars worth of entertainment to Capitol Hill aides who could help him get legislation favorable to his clients. Sometimes, he said, he concealed their identities in expense reports to try to keep them from being exposed for violating gift bans.
Boulanger, 37, could have faced up to 5 years in prison, but under terms of his plea deal prosecutors recommended that he get 18-24 months with reduced time if he continues to cooperate in the investigation. A sentencing date has not been set and he was released without bail.
Prison. Good. I was prepared for Mr. Boulanger to get probation since he only pleaded guilty to one charge.
Even though there don't seem to be any documents from today's hearing out on PACER, Ms. Pickler tells us more ...
During the plea hearing, the prosecutor read e-mails between Boulanger, his colleagues and congressional aides, who were not shy in their demands. Boulanger, who told the judge all the accusations against him were true, made it clear in his correspondence that he expected the staffers would return his favors.
The prosecutors said one legislative director in the Senate, identified only as "Staffer F," tried to help insert spending measures and add other amendments to legislation for Boulanger's clients. Later, the staffer asked Boulanger if he could "score some hockey tickets," and Boulanger got him front-row seats.
"This is without a doubt the most in demand game of the season," Boulanger wrote. "You, my friend, are in debt to me for a while!"
Boulanger later got the staffer box tickets to see the Baltimore Orioles, but the staffer wanted more. "Could you make sure there's beer this time," he wrote. I "mean, the red sox, crab cakes, and fillet mignon's were nice but haha."
Later, Boulanger expressed confidence that the senator whom the staffer worked for would give them a favor. "Easy money," Boulanger wrote to Abramoff. The staffer "practically lives in our various suites. We are shady."
'Staffer E' is identified by the AP as Ann Copland, a former staffer for Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.)
'Staffer F' remains unidentified to the best of my knowledge. The ACR blog is on the case, though.
[The only other unidentified staffer is 'Staffer D'. Frasier Verrusio, a former staffer for Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) shares some characteristics with 'Staffer D']