Ney named chairman of House panel
By PAUL M. KRAWZAK
Repository Washington correspondent
WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Bob Ney, R-St. Clairsville, has been named chairman of the House Administration Committee, raising to three the number of Ohio Republicans who chair House committees.
House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., appointed Ney to the position Tuesday, calling him a ‘‘strong leader who will serve the House well. I look forward to working closely with Chairman Ney in this new
assignment so we can continue to improve the daily, internal workings of the House.’’
While much of the impact of the committee is felt inside Congress, the chairmanship might give Ney a visible national role if the House undertakes either campaign finance or election reform.
Ney beat out U.S. Rep. Vernon Ehlers, R-Mich., another leading candidate, to become head of the committee. The panel oversees House operations and has jurisdiction over contested House elections and campaign finance reform.
‘‘I appreciate the speaker’s confidence in me,’’ Ney said. ‘‘It’s an important committee.’’ Ney said when he was growing up in the district he now represents, his congressman was Wayne Hays, the legendary
lawmaker who also chaired the administration committee. ‘‘People here (in the district) know what that committee is,’’ he said.
The appointment is a big step up for Ney, who has served on the panel since his election to Congress in 1994. Ney succeeds U.S. Rep. Bill Thomas, R-Calif., who moved from chairman of administration to chairman of Ways and Means.
Ney’s path to the chairmanship was smoothed when U.S. Rep. John Boehner, R-West Chester, who was vice chairman of administration, was named chairman of the Education and Workforce Committee.
The other Ohio Republican to win a committee chairmanship was U.S. Rep. Michael Oxley, R-Findlay, who will head the Financial Services Committee.
‘‘That’s great for Ohio,’’ U.S. Rep. Ralph Regula, R-Bethlehem Township, vice chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, said of Ney’s appointment. ‘‘I think he’s a good choice for that job. It’s one of those that doesn’t have a lot of visibility, but it’s pretty important because they deal with election procedures involving House members and the internal affairs of the House.’’
Ney believes that campaign finance reform, reforming the election process and administering the House will be the committee’s major tasks during the next two years.
‘‘I’ve always been for full disclosure’’ of campaign contributions, he said, adding that ‘‘everybody that feeds money into a candidate or against a candidate should disclose it.’’ Beyond that, he declined to say
which campaign reform proposals he favors. ‘‘I’m going to keep an open mind to everything,’’ he said.
He also hopes the House will take up the cause of election reform after the contested presidential race in Florida.