September 19, 2006
Embattled representative steps down from two committee posts
By Paul M. Krawzak
Copley News Service
WASHINGTON – Ohio state Sen. Joy Padgett, retiring U.S. Rep. Bob
Ney’s hand-picked successor to replace him on the November ballot,
called for his immediate resignation Monday in the wake of his
admission to criminal wrongdoing.
If Ney, R-Heath, doesn’t resign, Padgett said, Congress “should
take action to expel Congressman Ney as soon as possible.”
Earlier Monday, Dover Law Director Zack Space, the Democratic
candidate for Congress in the 18th District, issued a statement
blasting Padgett for failing to call for Ney’s resignation.
The Justice Department announced Friday that Ney will plead guilty
next month to corruptly accepting gifts from lobbyists and a
businessman in exchange for using his official position as a
congressman to assist them. He also filed false reports with
Congress to conceal his dealings.
Padgett, R-Coshocton, said in her statement that Ney’s “admission
of guilt to serious charges requires his immediate resignation.”
She said Congress as an institution “must be beyond reproach and
The state legislator’s demand followed a similar call Friday from
Ohio Republican Party Chairman Robert Bennett, who said Ney’s
“apology rings hollow in the context of the many months he spent
denying his corrupt behavior.”
Ney faces as many as 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine, but
prosecutors are recommending he be imprisoned for 27 months based
on federal sentencing guidelines.
Hours before Padgett called on Ney to quit Congress, Ney resigned
from the chairmanships of two congressional panels. But he has not
signaled whether he plans to resign from Congress before his sixth
term ends in December.
Ney’s attorney William Lawler III on Monday said he had not heard
anything new about whether Ney plans to resign and did not know
when he would return to Congress from an alcohol treatment program
he checked into last week.
Lawler has not revealed where Ney is being treated to protect his
and his family’s privacy, he said.
In letters to House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., Ney resigned
effective Monday from chairing a housing subcommittee and the
Franking Commission, a panel that oversees lawmakers’ use of
public funds to pay for government-related mailings to their
Ney told Hastert that he was proud of the accomplishments that he
and other lawmakers had achieved on the housing panel, including
creation of “housing opportunities and assistance” throughout the
Once a rising star in Congress, Ney began his public descent in
November 2004 when testimony in a Senate committee hearing
implicated him in a scheme to defraud Indians orchestrated by
convicted Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Ney was forced to give up his chairmanship of the House
Administration Committee, a position appointed by Hastert, when
Abramoff pleaded guilty in January.
Ney withdrew his bid for re-election in early August when he also
announced his support for Padgett to replace him on the ballot.
Padgett, whose state senate district shares several counties with
Ney’s congressional district, won a special election Thursday to
run as the Republican candidate for the seat in November.
Padgett’s campaign manager, Lindsay Shuba, said Padgett hasn’t
talked with Ney since he told her he was withdrawing his bid for
re-election last month.
Shuba said Padgett has “absolutely no indication” whether Ney will
heed the call to resign.
Under congressional rules, Ney must refrain from voting after
pleading guilty next month. He is not required to resign, but the
House could expel him from Congress with a two-thirds vote.