But almost from the start, there was the drinking. "My problem with alcohol became an alcohol problem on steroids from 2005 to 2006, escalating into blackouts, anger, depression, extreme sadness. You name it, I experienced it. I had been a drinker through the years, but I had been drinking more and more...." The book includes a section written by Ney's former chief of staff, Matt Parker, who recalls that in 2005, "Bob went from being a functional alcoholic to a raging alcoholic. He smoked multiple packs of cigarettes a day and would drink beer all day long, starting with beer in his coffee cup early in the morning."
Ney blames the drinking for his failure to declare all his gambling winnings from a London trip. "I was a functional alcoholic who was hurting myself — using bad judgment and not thinking clearly. This gave the department [of Justice] the leverage they needed to pressure me on the Abramoff case."
He blasts prosecutor Alice S. Fisher as "undoubtedly the most covert, manipulative, cunning, stealth, vicious, cold-hearted instrument of evil that Karl Rove and the Bush administration had." He writes that she, "along with Alberto Gonzales, Andy Card, Karl Rove and President Bush, shredded the Constitution of the United States and did as they pleased." He blames his decision to take a plea on his inability to come up with the $3 million he would need to pay his lawyers. "Through leaks, the government of the United States knowingly fabricated and made overblown statements about not all, but some of the facts of the case. In order to bring this to an end, I made a plea, fully aware that the leaks were at times overblown and untrue."
Ney reveals in his book that before taking the plea, he planned a dramatic public suicide to shed light on the prosecutors' tactics.
"After a night of drinking ... I concluded that it was better for my children financially if I were to die before going broke," he writes, adding, "I planned to do it right in front of the Department of Justice building with a letter in my pocket and one in the mail to the media, just in case someone from Justice found it on me and disposed of it." He says he considered the plan "unique, perfect and damning — the ultimate payback to Bush and Gonzales."
But the night before he was going to do it, friends and his lawyers intervened and got him to enter alcoholism treatment at the Cleveland Clinic.
Ney, now 58 and working as a talk-show host for Talk Radio News Service, says he wrote the book "as a way to atone for my sins" and help people "understand what is really going on in the halls of the shiny Capitol I so love."
Of his own actions, he writes, "In dealing with Jack Abramoff, I crossed the line. It was not direct bribery and we could not be charged with that, but it surely was not good, nor was it legal. I ate and drank free at his expense, traveled with him to Scotland, and threw the ethics laws to the wind."