Newspaper Publisher Pleads Guilty to Making False Statement to Congress

WASHINGTON - Karl B. Rodney, the chief executive officer of the Carib News Foundation and publisher of Carib News, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to making a false statement to the U.S. House of Representatives, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division.

According to court documents, through the Carib News foundation and Carib News, Rodney has organized an annual conference for more than a decade in the Caribbean called the Annual Caribbean Multi-National Business Conference. Many of the conferences have been attended by members of Congress.

In 2007, the House of Representatives modified its travel rules to require, among other things, that all privately-funded travel by members of Congress be pre-approved by the House of Representatives Committee on Standards of Official Conduct (Ethics Committee.) The pre-approval process required the private sponsor to submit a Private Sponsor Travel Certification Form disclosing, among other things, the source of funding for the member’s trip, including transportation, lodging and meals.

In pleading guilty today, Rodney admitted that he made false statements on the Private Sponsor Travel Certification Form submitted to the Ethics Committee in connection with the 12th Annual Caribbean Multi-National Business Conference held in Antigua and Barbuda from November 8-11, 2007.

According to court documents, in connection with the 2007 conference, Rodney provided round-trip airfare, hotels and meals for the members attending the conference using money and in-kind support provided by the foreign host country and a private corporation. Under the House of Representatives’ travel rules, Rodney was required to disclose on the Private Sponsor Travel Certification Form any entity contributing funds or in-kind support towards the members’ trip. Instead of listing the foreign host country and private corporation on the certification form that he submitted, Rodney falsely stated that Carib News Foundation was the only entity that paid for the members’ travel and that the foundation had not accepted funds from any other source earmarked for that purpose.

Rodney faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the false statement charge. Sentencing is scheduled for July 22, 2011, at 2:30 p.m. before U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan.

This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Kate Albrecht and Justin Shur of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section. The case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program.