Abramoff Probe Still Active, Fees Indicate

By Justin Rood

Nov 13, 2007 3:00pm

A possible sign that the Jack Abramoff investigation continues to burrow into Capitol Hill, a congressman under scrutiny for his ties to the disgraced former Republican superlobbyist has paid tens of thousands of dollars to a legal firm specializing in forensic data recovery. Since April, Rep. Tom Feeney, R-Fla., has paid over $90,000 to a Washington, D.C. office of FTI Consulting, through his re-election campaign and a separate legal defense fund he began in June, according to financial filings and a news account. The payments were for helping Feeney "voluntarily cooperate" with federal prosecutors, according to Pepper Pennington, the congressman’s spokeswoman. Among its specialties, FTI provides "electronic evidence consulting focused on time-sensitive situations," "computer forensic services" and "e-mail reconstruction," according to the firm’s Web site. The Department of Justice has reportedly sought e-mails from Feeney regarding interactions between the lawmaker’s office and Abramoff, the disgraced former Republican superlobbyist who was arrested in 2004 and has been cooperating with government investigators. FTI did not respond to a request for information from ABC News. Feeney attracted investigators’ interest by joining Abramoff and six others on a 2003 Scottish golf trip paid for by the former lobbyist, which records show to have cost the former lobbyist $160,000.  Earlier this year, Feeney wrote a check to the U.S. Treasury for roughly $5,500, after the House Ethics Committee ruled he must pay his share of the trip. Feeney has denied taking any action to help Abramoff or his clients, insisted he had "no relationship" with Abramoff, and the trip was "an expensive lesson." Other participants on Abramoff-sponsored junkets have faced significant legal problems. Fellow golfer and former White House official David Safavian is in jail, along with Abramoff and former Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, who also golfed with the power broker-turned government witness. Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, also a guest on Abramoff’s golf trips, is reportedly under investigation for his ties to Abramoff. Click Here for Full Blotter Coverage. This post has been updated.

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