No Prison Time for Abramoff Figure Albaugh

Posted April 7, 2011 at 4:30pm

A former Congressional staffer embroiled in the Jack Abramoff corruption scandal will avoid prison time after the judge in the case questioned why Members of Congress have mostly stayed off the hook in the Justice Department’s probe, the Associated Press reported Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Ellen Huvelle decided not to impose a prison sentence on John Albaugh, a one-time aide to former Rep. Ernest Istook (R-Okla.), even though prosecutors had recommended a sentence of two years.

Albaugh pleaded guilty to helping Abramoff’s clients obtain government funding in exchange for the lobbyist’s help in raising campaign cash.

The judge sentenced Albaugh to five years of probation and four months in a halfway house in Colorado, where he now lives, the AP reported.

Huvelle added that it was a concern that “higher-ups” have not been punished, the AP reported. Former Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) is the only Member of Congress who has served prison time related to the bribery and influence investigation. Ney is now out of prison and involved in a nonprofit organization and with talk radio.

“There are three or four Congressmen out there that will never see the light of day for actions, and we’re blaming the staffers,” Huvelle said, according to the AP. “The people that really benefited from this scheme, with one exception, aren’t the people in front of me.”