On September 4, former lobbyist Jack Abramoff was sentenced to four years in prison for his role in a corruption scandal that brought down nearly a dozen government officials and Washington insiders. Although federal district Judge Ellen Huvelle could have sentenced Abramoff to a much longer prison term, the Department of Justice had asked for a lesser sentence in light of Abramoff's cooperation in connection with ongoing investigations. In addition to his prison sentence, Abramoff was ordered to pay $23 million in restitution to his former clients.
Abramoff was the central figure in a political scandal that rocked Washington in the months and years following the 2004 election. The Department of Justice's investigation into Abramoff's lobbying and business activities has resulted in guilty pleas from members of both the legislative and executive branches, including former House Administration Committee Chairman Bob Ney (R-Ohio), and was a significant impetus behind the new ethics reforms enacted by Congress last year.