Bob Ney to Resign Chairmanship

AP is reporting that Bob Ney is negotiating over stepping down as House Administration Committee Chair.

Embattled Ohio Republican Bob Ney is in talks with House Speaker Dennis Hastert about resigning his chairmanship of the House Administration Committee, a senior House GOP aide told The Associated Press on Friday.

Ney has been linked to the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal and has denied wrongdoing in the burgeoning scandal. But he is facing the loss of his chairmanship as House Republicans seek to implement an ambitious lobbying reform agenda, much of which would pass through his committee.

“There have been ongoing discussions between Speaker Hastert and Rep. Ney about his role as chairman of the House Administration Committee,” said Hastert spokesman Ron Bonjean.

The development comes after Abramoff’s plea agreement this month in an influence peddling scandal involving members of Congress. Among other accusations, Abramoff said Ney took favors including a 2002 golf trip to Scotland, free dinners and events and campaign donations in exchange for his support of Abramoff’s American Indian tribe clients in Texas and the lobbyist’s purchase of a fleet of Florida casino boats.

Certainly, if anyone was going to lose their seat over this mess, it should be Ney. With Majority Leader DeLay out and the two leading contenders for his position under taint of suspicion from the scandal, things are beginning to look a lot like 1994–although in reverse.

The good news is that Hastert and other Republican leaders seem to at least realize the size of the problem, if rather belatedly. It may well be too late for the GOP to recover in time for November’s elections–although the polls aren’t looking as bad for them as one might expect–but a thorough house cleaning (or, should I say, House cleaning?) is certainly in order.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

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