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Ex-Cochran Staffer Admits Guilt as Part...

Ex-Cochran Staffer Admits Guilt as Part of Abramoff Probe

By: Magnolia Tribune - March 11, 2009

Wall Street Journal Online, 3/10/9

A former longtime staffer of Sen. Thad Cochran (R., Miss.) pleaded guilty to defrauding the government as part of the investigation into jailed lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Ann M. Copland, who worked on Sen. Cochran’s staff from 1979 to 2008, admitted to being lobbied by Mr. Abramoff and two others regarding a Native American tribe in Mississippi and taking actions to help them while receiving more than $25,000 in food and entertainment tickets during from 2002 through 2004.

The lobbyists allegedly emailed each other about what kind of tickets and perks they could give to Ms. Copland, with one of them, Todd Abramoff, writing, “Ann should get everything she wants.”

The charges brought against Ms. Copland say she knew there were rules governing the conduct of employees of the U.S. Senate — specifically rules prohibiting soliciting gifts from anyone seeking official action or doing business with the employee — but accepted them anyway.

Nineteen people, including Jack Abramoff, have pleaded guilty or are awaiting trial as a result of the investigation. Mr. Abramoff was sentenced in September 2008 to 48 months in prison.

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