But few bothered to identify a shadowy figure in the documents, the unnamed and apparently as-yet-unindicted-co-conspirator “Lobbyist C” who, some Abramoff-watchers say privately, may be the link to a real story.
As the Associated Press eventually noted, Mr. C is likely Kevin Ring, a former Hill aide who went to work for Jack Abramoff in 2001. And strange as it may seem, ex-staffer Ring may be a more enticing target for prosecutors than the ex-congressman in the plea documents, Republican Ernest Istook of Oklahoma.
What’s Ring’s connection to Representative Rehberg? Well, Kevin Ring was involved in some seriously shady dealings with Rehberg in the past, lobbying the federal government to pave a road in Carter County, at Rehberg’s request:
It was Rehberg who advised the Carter County Commission to hire Ring.
“Rehberg suggested this man because he knew him,” Courtney said.
One of the reasons Rehberg knew him, of course, was because Ring had happened to contribute to Rehberg’s campaign. Rehberg got his campaign cash, Ring got his lobbying money, but Carter County? They sure didn’t get their road paved.
Ring is currently working with the FBI. Perhaps he will have the time to discuss his involvement with Representative Rehberg’s interest in country roads.