MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Former Congressman Bob Ney reported to a federal prison Thursday morning to begin serving a 2 1/2-year sentence for corruption, a fall from grace spurred by gifts from now imprisoned lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
As inmate No. 28882-016, Ney's lifestyle will be more austere and his wardrobe mainly khaki.
The six-term Ohio Republican who once drew a $165,200 annual salary will be getting a wage of 12 cents to 40 cents an hour, depending on his prison job. Movie nights will be in a high school-style auditorium with 1,300 other inmates. He'll sleep on a bunk bed in a room for 12.
Veronica Fernandez, spokeswoman for the minimum-security Federal Correctional Institution at Morgantown, declined to reveal what personal items he brought with him.
Ney pleaded guilty in October to conspiracy and making false statements, admitting he traded influence for golf trips, campaign donations and other gifts arranged by once-influential lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his associates.
He agreed to push legislation helpful to Abramoff clients, including American Indian tribes and a foreign beverage distiller, and agreed to help a Syrian-born aviation company owner who funneled thousands of dollars in gambling chips to him.
Abramoff is serving six years in a Maryland prison for a fraudulent Florida casino deal.
Ney's prison — a three-hour drive from his home in Heath, Ohio, and an hour south of Pittsburgh — resembles a school campus. There is no razor wire. It has a library and workout room.
The inmates there work seven-and-a-half hours a day in jobs including food service, cleaning and landscaping, although they can spend half of that time on education or substance abuse counseling.
Ney, who has said in court documents that he is an alcoholic, will likely undergo alcohol rehabilitation, as recommended at sentencing. It wasn't clear what his prison job would be.
Even with all the publicity surrounding his role in the Abramoff scandal, Ney might not be the best-known face in the Morgantown prison's crowd.
Former "Survivor" star Richard Hatch is also a Morgantown inmate, serving 51 months for failing to pay taxes on his $1 million prize and other income.