Abramoff Colleague Sentenced to 20 Months

Posted October 26, 2011 at 1:05pm

Former House staffer-turned-lobbyist Kevin Ring was sentenced to 20 months in prison today for his role in the corruption scandal surrounding his former boss, lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Ring, a onetime aide to former Rep. John Doolittle (R-Calif.) who later became a lobbyist on Abramoff’s team, was convicted last fall on five public corruption counts, including conspiracy, payment of an illegal gratuity and honest services wire fraud, for giving gifts to Members of Congress and staff. The Justice Department said in a release that Ring secured an illegal stream of things of value for Members, including vacations, employment for a Congressman’s wife, meals, drinks and high-priced tickets to exclusive concerts and sporting events.

It was his second trial — the first case was declared a mistrial in 2009 when the jury could not come to a unanimous decision.

In a filing last month, prosecutors argued that Ring should face 17 to 22 years in prison — a range that vastly exceeds the time served by other defendants in the case — because he “is not entitled to the benefits, or leniency, enjoyed by his co-conspirators who stood in a very different position in 2005 to 2008 than he does in 2011.”

Abramoff was sentenced to prison for 48 months, while former Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) was sentenced to 30 months.

Ring wept as he sought mercy from U.S. District Judge Ellen Huvelle, the Associated Press reported. “I found a ridiculous system full of gray areas and I manipulated it,” he said.