September 21, 2006
Regula: Ney should ask constituents what to do
By Paul M. Krawzak
Copley News Service
WASHINGTON Rep. - Ralph Regula has backed off from suggesting
that Rep. Bob Ney resign from Congress after his admission to
felonies, even though several other GOP lawmakers are urging Ney
After telling one of his aides Tuesday that Ney should resign,
Regula, R-Bethlehem Township, said Wednesday he thought it over
some more and determined that Ney should ask his constituents
what to do.
“I just reflected on the fact that his district ought to have a
voice in it,” said Regula, a powerful member of the House
Appropriations Committee and the Ohio lawmaker with the most
seniority in Congress.
Regula added that since a Ney resignation could deprive
constituents in his district of representation for the rest of
the year, “at least they should have a voice” in his decision.
“The seat really does belong to the people in that district,” he
Since Ney, R-Heath, admitted Friday to conspiracy and making
false statements in a bribery scheme orchestrated by convicted
lobbyist Jack Abramoff, several prominent lawmakers have
followed the lead of Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Bennett
in demanding that Ney resign immediately. Ney had already
announced he would not seek re-election.
Rep. Deborah Pryce, R-Columbus, chair of the House Republican
Conference, on Tuesday called for Ney to quit. Pryce is in a
tough race to retain her seat in a year when observers believe
Democrats could gain control of the House.
House Majority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and House Rules Committee
Chairman David Dreier, R-Calif., agreed Wednesday that Ney
should step down.
Rep. David Hobson, R-Springfield, said through an aide that Ney
should ask himself whether he can be an effective representative
of his constituents in the weeks ahead and base his decision on
Two other key Republicans, House Majority Leader John Boehner,
R-West Chester, and Rep. Thomas Reynolds, R-N.Y., who leads the
GOP re-election effort in the House, said the decision is up to
Ney’s replacement on the November ballot, state Sen. Joy
Padgett, R-Coshocton, also called for him to resign or be
expelled from Congress.
Padgett is running against Dover Law Director Zack Space, a
Democrat who believes Ney should resign.
NO CALLS TO EXPEL HIM
Democratic leaders also are calling for Ney to resign for his
part in the scandal, which they say illustrates a Republican
culture of corruption.
The House could expel him with a two-thirds vote, but so far
neither Democrats nor Republicans are proposing that.
Jennifer Crider, a spokeswoman for House Minority Leader Nancy
Pelosi, D-Calif., said Pelosi hopes Ney will resign, making
If Ney were to quit or be expelled, the law provides for a
special election to fill the vacancy. Regula, however, said that
with less than four months left in the two-year congressional
session, holding a special election could be impractical and
Ney acknowledged a drinking problem and entered an alcohol
rehabilitation program at an undisclosed location last week. His
attorneys have not said where he is or when he will return to
Congress is expected to adjourn at the end of next week for the
fall campaign and would not return until November.
Ney is scheduled to plead guilty on Oct. 13. After his
conviction, House rules will prohibit him from casting
congressional votes on behalf of constituents in his
east-central Ohio district.
Regula, whose district lies immediately north of Ney’s, said
he’s “not going to push him (Ney) to do anything.”
Republican leaders insist Ney’s continued presence as a
congressman will not affect Padgett’s chances of keeping the
seat in Republican hands.
Regula agreed it would not hurt Padgett.
“I think people run on their own situations,” he said.