Former Armey aide charged in Abramoff scandal

Horace Cooper, a legal commentator, active conservative writer and blogger who served as a top aide to former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas), was indicted Friday on public corruption charges related to the wide-ranging case involving Jack Abramoff.

The Justice Department charged Cooper, 44, with on count of conspiracy, one count of fraudulent concealment, two counts of false statements and one count of obstruction of an official proceeding.

ADVERTISEMENT
The allegations stem from Cooper’s last three years with Armey, as well as his stints as chief of staff for Voice of America (VOA) from 2001 to 2002 and the Employment Standards Administration at the U.S. Department of Labor from 2002 to 2005.

Specifically, the indictment charges Cooper with soliciting and receiving thousands of dollars worth of tickets to sporting events and concerts, as well as drinks and meals, from then-lobbyist Abramoff and his colleagues. The illegal gifts included an all-expense paid Superbowl party for Cooper and his friends at one of Abramoff’s restaurants. In return, Cooper agreed to use his positions at VOA and the Department of Labor to help advance Abramoff’s clients, according to the indictment.

Cooper failed to report the gifts on his required financial disclosure forms and allegedly made false statements to law enforcement officials and the grand jury and provided documents that “he maintained proved his statements regarding alleged free meals were true, when allegedly he knew that they did not,” the indictment charges.

Cooper is scheduled to make an initial appearance at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Sept. 9. He faces a maximum sentence of 35 years in jail and a maximum fine of $250,000.

According to a bio on www.horacecooper.com, right now Cooper is a senior fellow at the Institute for Liberty, a conservative group focused on technology policy, national security and small business issues, and regularly appears on TV shows and panelists, most recently on CNN’s The Lou Dobbs show June 11.