Two current Democratic lawmakers, Reps. Jan Schakowsky (Ill.) and Juanita Millender-McDonald (Calif.), even have close family members behind bars.
Robert Creamer, Schakowsky’s husband, is incarcerated in the Federal Correctional Institution in Terre Haute, Ind., where he is serving five months for bank fraud and failure to pay withholding taxes as part of a check-kiting scheme. Creamer, who is scheduled to be released on Nov. 9, also will have to serve 11 months of home detention.
Roderick Keith McDonald, Millender-McDonald’s son, is serving a 41-month prison sentence for mail fraud, money laundering, bribery and conspiracy to extort. He will be released on Dec. 31, 2008.
Ballance’s son, Garey, a former judge, was just released from federal prison on Aug. 31 after serving a nine-month sentence for tax evasion. The younger Ballance failed to pay taxes on a $20,000 gift from his father.
Ney, who signed onto a plea agreement with federal prosecutors last week after nearly two years of denials, is expected to receive the lightest sentence of any of the incarcerated pols. Justice Department officials have agreed to recommend a 27-month term for the Ohio Republican. Ney is currently in an alcohol-abuse treatment center receiving counseling for what he called a “dependency” problem.
Ballance was sentenced to four years in prison for fraud and money laundering related to more than $300,000 in state funds that Ballance steered to a North Carolina nonprofit he controlled. Ballance is not scheduled to be released from federal custody until June 2009, according to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.
Ballance, who served one term in the House after nearly 20 years in the North Carolina Legislature, recently applied to have his conviction overturned, although a federal appeals court asked him to resubmit his application because it wasn’t filed on the proper form. Ballance argues that federal prosecutors “wired” his case by threatening family members, including his 86-year-old mother, with jail terms unless he cooperated with the FBI. He also alleges that prosecutors “made false and/or misleading answers to the court about alleged evidence in my case,” according to a legal document filed by Ballance.
Cunningham, whose case has kicked off a wider investigation by the Justice Department into spending earmarks and government contracts, received eight years and four months — the longest prison term ever meted out to a former lawmaker — for taking more than $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors, as well as tax evasion and fraud. Cunningham’s sentence is set to expire in June 2013.
Traficant, who was convicted of bribery, fraud and racketeering in 2002, among other charges, was sentenced to eight years in prison. He will be in prison until at least September 2009.