September 15, 2006
Reports say Ney to plead guilty
By Paul M. Krawzak
Copley News Service
WASHINGTON – Rep. Bob Ney and his staff did not respond to
unconfirmed reports Thursday that the Heath Republican has
reached an agreement to plead guilty to at least one criminal
charge in a Justice Department investigation.
Ney, his office and his attorneys did not return messages and
phone calls seeking their comment. The Justice Department also
declined to comment.
Press reports citing unidentified sources said Ney has agreed to
plead guilty in a deal that could be announced as early as
Ney missed all votes in the House on Wednesday and Thursday,
although he did vote on Tuesday. His office did not return calls
seeking to find out why he wasn’t voting or whether he was in
The New York Times reported that he had entered an in-patient
rehabilitation center for treatment of alcoholism.
The six-term lawmaker has been under investigation by federal
prosecutors for his role in a bribery and corruption scheme
spearheaded by one-time Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who
pleaded guilty earlier this year and is cooperating with
Several former congressional staff and lobbyists, including
Ney’s former chief of staff Neil Volz, have pleaded guilty. They
alleged that Ney was the recipient of free meals, tickets to
sporting events, a golf trip to Scotland and other benefits that
they said he accepted in return for helping their clients.
Ney has denied any wrongdoing and had said he would fight any
Ney announced last month that he would not seek re-election
because of the strain of the investigation on his family.
On Thursday, state Sen. Joy Padgett, R-Coshocton, won a special
election to replace Ney on the ballot.
Three of Ney’s key aides, including his communications director
Brian Walsh, left Ney’s office in June. Katie Harbath, who
replaced Walsh, left Ney to join a public affairs consulting
firm after the congressman withdrew his re-election bid last
Earlier this week, David Popp, chief of staff at Ney’s
congressional office, said Ney did not intend to replace Harbath.
At one time a rising star within the House Republican majority,
Ney was pressured to step down from the chairmanship of the
House Administration Committee in January following Abramoff’s
guilty plea and implication of the congressman.