According to the documents, Boulanger began giving Blackann tickets for sporting events and concerts shortly before Blackann joined Bond's staff December 2000. Boulanger would also buy Blackann meals and drinks, continuing until he resigned from Greenberg Traurig in March 2004. During 2003 alone, Boulanger spent more than $3,100 buying such gifts for Blackann, according to the documents.
The biggest event was in October 2003 when Boulanger and Hirni took Blackann and Staffer D on a free trip to the first game of the World Series in New York, including round trip airfare, an overnight stay in a hotel, a private chauffeur, a souvenir baseball jersey, food and drink as well as "admission to and entertainment at a gentlemen's club following the game," according to plea agreement.
During this period, Boulanger would often ask Blackann for help with clients, including in February 2001 when Boulanger asked Blackann to help obtain a letter of support from his boss for "a person seeking political appointment in the Bureau of Indian Affairs," according to the document. (The Justice Department informed Bond he is not a target of the investigation, according to his office.)
Boulanger and Blackann were personal friends. (According to a 2005 article in The Hill newspaper, the two went sailing together.) But, according to the court document, "Blackann knew that the lobbyists gave these things of value for or because of officials action they were seeking from him or had obtained from him." And, it said, he took those gifts knowingly.
In a statement, Blackann's lawyer, Carol Elder Bruce, said that, "He deeply regrets his conduct and takes full responsibility for it."
So far 15 individuals, including several top government officials, have been convicted as part of the influence peddling probe stemming from the activities of Jack Abramoff. But many more individuals have surfaced in emails and media reports.
Boulanger left Abramoff for Cassidy shortly after the first public reports raising questions about Abramoff's lobbying operation in 2004. Since then, he has managed to reestablish himself and now boasts clients from Whirlpool Corp. to the Motion Picture Association of America. Indeed, just this year The Politico listed his as one of the "players" to watch, noting, "From his successful weathering of the Jack Abramoff storm to his many cable TV appearances, Boulanger has proven his nattily attired, outside-the-box staying power."
Hirni, too, appears to have had similar staying power. He followed Boulanger to Cassidy where he racked up an impressive list of clients, including BellSouth, Fidelity and Freddie Mac. And it appears that he thought he had put his Abramoff days behind him. When asked by the alumni magazine of his college, Wheaton, about what lesson he learned working for Abramoff he replied, "It underscores the point I made previously about appearances and ethics. You have to be straightforward in how you do business. You always want to make sure you follow the rules that are in place, and you make sure you do things on the most ethical, up-and-up level."