Two More Implicated in Abramoff Scandal

Posted November 23, 2008 at 10:19pm

A former associate of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff is expected to soon be charged with wire fraud in federal court, while a person who had worked with Abramoff left his post Friday with the firm Cassidy & Associates.

The actions come on the heels of a guilty plea Thursday by former Republican aide Trevor Blackann, who admitted to filing a false tax return for not reporting more than $4,100 in gifts from lobbyists.

Although not identified by name in court documents filed in Blackann’s plea, details provided about “Lobbyist D” and “Lobbyist E” matched those of Todd Boulanger and James Hirni, respectively. Boulanger, a former aide to then-Sen. Bob Smith (R-N.H.), worked for Preston Gates & Ellis and then Greenberg Traurig before joining Cassidy & Associates as a senior vice president.

Hirni is also a former Senate aide who at one time worked for Greenberg Traurig with Boulanger and Abramoff.

Hirni is now an executive director of Republican outreach for Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

According to documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and published by ABC News, Hirni faces one count of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud.

Hirni is accused of using “corrupt means to solicit and receive favorable action” from Blackann and an unnamed House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee aide.

Among the gifts that Hirni allegedly provided Blackann was a 2003 trip to the World Series in New York City, which documents charging Blackann estimated to be worth more than $1,000 counting airfare, game tickets, a souvenir jersey and entertainment.

On Friday, Cassidy & Associates released a statement saying the firm “accepted the departure” of Boulanger that afternoon.

The two-sentence statement went on to say that Cassidy & Associates’ “Founder and Executive Chairman Gerald S.J. Cassidy acknowledged this as a difficult time for Boulanger and expressed his appreciation for his diligent work on behalf of his clients while serving as a senior vice president at Cassidy & Associates.”

Although Boulanger’s biography has been removed from the Cassidy & Associates Web site, his voicemail remained active Sunday evening.