The Sun Herald, 2/11/9

The food and drinks weren’t quite what the Senate aide expected when she arrived at the lobbyist’s luxury suite for the Orioles baseball game at Baltimore’s Camden Yards.

“Ackkk. Only beer and no Hebrew National hot dogs,” Ann Copland complained in a June 2003 e-mail now on file in federal court.

It was one of many such exchanges Copland had with the lobbyist, Todd Boulanger, as she allegedly took tickets, meals and other gifts worth more than $25,000 from his firm, where he worked under now-imprisoned superlobbyist Jack Abramoff. All the while, she used her position as a senior adviser to Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., to provide legislative favors benefiting the firm’s clients, according to court documents.

The e-mails, contained in a plea agreement Boulanger struck recently, suggest that the long-running Abramoff scandal could be shifting uncomfortably close to home for Cochran, a 30-year senator whose low-key politics and mild demeanor belie his status as one of the most powerful people in Washington.