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Ohio 18: More Trouble for Bob Ney

Less than a week after besting a primary challenger, Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) faces more scrutiny in regard to the pay-to-play scandal surrounding lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Neil Volz
Former congressional aide Neil Volz leaves federal court in Washington on Monday (AP Photo).

The latest development is a plea agreement signed today by Ney's former top aide, Neil Volz -- a plea that has the Ohio congressman's now-familiar moniker -- "Representative #1" -- all over it.

The agreement alleges that during his time as communications director and chief of staff for Ney, Volz "received things of value from or at the direction of Abramoff, [Tony] Rudy and others, including tickets to sporting events, meals and drinks, and golf." It goes on to state that: "During the same time period, defendant Volz, Representative #1 and others performed official acts for or at the behest of Abramoff and others, which were motivated in part by the things of value received."

The eight-page document details those exchanges, including an all-expense trip to Scotland, tickets to sporting events in the Washington area and food and drink at Abramoff's restaurant -- Signatures.

In a statement released earlier today, Brian Walsh, a spokesman for Ney, said federal prosecutors "have been unable to even allege that Congressman Ney was bribed." Ney's lawyer, Bill Lawler, insisted in a conference call this afternoon that "this is not a bribery case." He said the inability of prosecutors to prove (or allege) bribery is "very telling."

The essence of the Ney argument is that while he accepted some gifts, there is absolutely nothing that proves he sought to influence legislation in return for those gifts. "There is a lot of liberty taken with the facts here," said Mark Tuohey -- another Ney lawyer. "Nothing's changed."

We'll leave a detailed examination of the legal case to the Post's Pulitzer prize-winning team of Sue Schmidt, James V. Grimaldi and R. Jeffrey Smith. But from a purely political perspective, the news is not good for Ney.

Volz's guilty plea brings the scandal (or at least the perception of scandal) one step closer to the congressman. Ney's general-election opponent -- attorney Zack Space (D) -- issued a release this afternoon that cast Ney as the "poster child for bad ethics in Congress."

"There is a saying that 'you can't clean up the water until you get the hogs out of the creek,'" Space said. "To clean up Washington, we have to rid the Congress of ethically challenged politicians like Bob Ney."

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee issued a statement calling on 25 Republicans who have taken donations from Volz to return those contributions.

Ney's 18th District is a Republican-tilting district (President Bush carried it by 14 points in 2004) that he has held easily since first winning it in 1994. But the scent scandal has changed all that. Earlier this year internal Republican polling showed Ney trailing Space in a hypothetical head-to-head match-up. Ney is the most vulnerable incumbent of either party up for reelection this November, according to The Fix's own most recent Friday Line on House races.

By Chris Cillizza  |  May 8, 2006; 3:38 PM ET
Categories:  House  
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Next: Primary Day Primer: Nebraska and West Virginia


Main fact:and yet we still hold all the cards - the one fact you seem to be totally unaware of. Rant on losers, we are busy winning elections and running the government. all your anger and lies and distortions don't amount to a hill of beans.
It is even worse if there are more Ds than Rs in OH since the majority of the state is R controlled. this must imply that the Ds don't think much of their candidates. except that wonderkid Kucinich. you must be proud. Ha
when Ney wins 65/35 in the Fall I assume you will say he was not well liked and has no mandate. Oh and the election was rigged. Anything to hide from the fact that you lost. but that seems to be a fact you prefer to hide from. better stick with the "facts" found in polls and editorials.

Posted by: king of zouk | May 10, 2006 2:06 PM | Report abuse

"I have an idea, let's blab on about stealing elections, poll results, editorials and anything else you can scrape from the miasma."

Who's blabbing about stealing elections?

"Dems are election losers and will continue to be so because they do not represent what voters want."

FACT - The Democratic candidate has won the popular vote in 3 of the last 4 presidential elections.

"all I have really said is that I don't see the errors on Ney's part to be grave"

zouk, go read an article or two on the whole Abramoff/Ney affair, and about the fact that that his chief of staff signed a plea deal, and perhaps then you will be educated enough to have a reasonable discussion with the adults on this blog.

"Of course most Dems will vote for Space (ha ha), but there are not enough of them in an honest state like Ohio to turn the tables."

FACT - there are more registered democrats in Ohio than republicans.

"Ney is very well-liked at home"

How does a well-liked 6-term incumbent only garner 65% of the vote in the primary? It would seem the numbers suggest that he is not well-liked.

"I guess it boils down to "does the congressman represent the people of his district?" "

I guess if your idea of Ney representing his district is placing statements in the Congressional Record benefitting tribal clients of Jack abramoff's from which he was stealing millions of dollars, then yes, Bob Ney is a great representative.

If you are trying to claim that you do not have an extreme bias zouk, you should maybe try using at leat one single fact in the whole of your idiotic ranting. Your entire post is full of baseless talking points and wishful republican thinking. You are fast on your way to becoming the laughing stock of the blog. But hey, if you wanna send money to Bob Ney (aka flush money down the toilet) go right ahead - i'm sure he won't think twice about rolling over your donation into his legal defense account and not spend a dime of it on his campaign. HAHAHA!!!

Posted by: Ohio guy | May 9, 2006 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Dems out number Reps by 41% to 32% in Ohio zouk. Reps will lose in most state wide races due to their lies and corruption. DeWine is finished and Blackwell will lose in a landslide. Neocon fantasy world is a very strange place and it is crumbleing fast. Are you frightened of the massive Republican defeat coming in November zouk? or are you high on the oxy like Rush?

Posted by: Larry | May 9, 2006 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Of course anyone who disagrees with you must be insane. That is certainly convincing. I would not put any stock in polls conducted this far out, and in fact, all polls. You all know how those exit polls turned out for your man Kerry. Oh, I keep forgetting, they were fake but accurate. I have an idea, let's blab on about stealing elections, poll results, editorials and anything else you can scrape from the miasma. forget about the actual facts - Dems are election losers and will continue to be so because they do not represent what voters want.

Of course most Dems will vote for Space (ha ha), but there are not enough of them in an honest state like Ohio to turn the tables. they all moved to NY and MA. this is very effective because the likes of Schumer and Kennedy can represent them very well.

I guess it boils down to "does the congressman represent the people of his district?" Ney is very well-liked at home and no amount of blog-raving will change that.

and if it does we will have to lose those diebold machines again.
I think I will send a check to Bob Ney tomorrow.

but seriously, if anyone has anything intelligent to say, I would love to hear it. where did you go RMill?

I do not have extreme bias as claimed here. all I have really said is that I don't see the errors on Ney's part to be grave (yet, perhaps there is more). the rest is just toying with you easily upset kids.

Posted by: king of zouk | May 9, 2006 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Judge - thanks for the reply, I guess I may have misunderstood the context of your comment about Vivian's arguments being 'decent'. But I still say they are, as usual, lightyears away from being logical.

Posted by: Ohio guy | May 9, 2006 5:03 PM | Report abuse

By the way Dems have won last 4 pres elections Gore won the pop vote by 600000 votes and all true americans know Bush cheated to win. There are not enough Republicans to win an election without cheating.

Posted by: Larry | May 9, 2006 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Ohio Guy: I was referring to VBOH's comments relative to the king of zouk's and others. Surely you can agree that VBOH probably doesn't require medication to function. Since you labeled KOZ's comments "Idiotic Rantings" you would probably agree that he does.

VBOH's comments regarding Space and Ney shows extreme bias but not incipient insanity. The fact that he has not addressed my comment regarding the results of the Republican's own polling data is not lost on me.

Having said that VBOH is certainly aware of the polling data and does not like it. KOZ is dimly aware of the polling data but refuses to acknowledge this basic reality and parrots (with all the intelligence associated with that word) Faux News. The responses they generate clearly diverge (decent versus nutbar) based on this difference.

As far as your other comments regarding Democratic chances in Ohio: you're preaching to the converted.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | May 9, 2006 3:35 PM | Report abuse

"no one in that part of Ohio is going to pull the lever for "Zack Space". The name alone sounds just too silly to be taken seriously. If you want to see who will win, look at dollars in the bank."

Wow, where to begin?

This paragraph of Idiotic Ranting from king of zouk pretty much sums up exactly what dimwitted repiglicans value in their politicians - NAME RECOGNITION AND DOLLAR SIGNS - NOT integrity, ethics, values, or ideas.

I think plenty of people will vote for Zack Space, no matter how much filthy Abramoff and DeLay money Ney has in his coffers. I base this belief on a poll that showed him defeating Ney in the race. What do you base it on that "no one" in the 18th will vote for him. Seeing as he won the primary, it seems that tens of thousands of people ALREADY HAVE voted for him in that district.

If you're just going to be another Vivian and post your repiglican wishful thinking instead of that facts, you should go blog at redstate or somewhere else where baseless rants are preferred over meaningful content.

Posted by: Ohio guy | May 9, 2006 2:24 PM | Report abuse

"they have more money, as if that's a good thing"

You are living in a fantasy world. I know you think all money is evil but it certainly indicates interest and support when it comes to politics.
I suggest you put your money where your mouth is and donate to your favorite candidate.

Posted by: king of zouk | May 9, 2006 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Last I looked Fox News' ratings were PLUMMETING. Hmmmm.....I guess that means that people are no longer interested in hearing their right-wing drivel. Is that a good explanation?

Posted by: Ohio guy | May 9, 2006 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Judge Crater -

Vivian's arguments are ANYTHING but decent, reasonable and logical.

"I agree that Space is not a credible candidate. He can't beat Ney now nor Padgett if she should take the seat."

- What part of that statement is reasonable? No facts whatsoever are offered to prove his statement that Zach Space is not credible - he just rambles on. I wouldn't have passed my fifth grade writing class if I wrote like this dimwit, not offering any facts to back up arguments.

He then goes on to brag about how the repiglicans' only bright spot in Ohio is that they have more money, as if that's a good thing. Personally, I don't think all the money in the world will get Ney reelected, given all the bad press he will receive between now and the election, and that's if he dosen't get indicted.

FYI, Ted Strickland has a lead of about $1 million on Ken Blackwell right now so if anyone needs money right now it is Blackwell. Add that to the fact that he trails Strickland in the polls right now by 18 points and it is REPIGLICANS who are going to need to spend HEAVILY if they are going to have any chance at the governors race - do they have the money to burn on this race when they have so many incumbents across the country to defend? Repiglicans have 40 vulnerable House seats to defend while democrats have about 10, and 22 governor's seats to defend while the Dems defend only 14 - the math seems to suggest the repiglicans will be the ones stretched thin. Also, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry will be coming to Ohio this month to do fundraisers for Strickland. Who will help Ken Blackwell fundraise? Cheney, Bush, Hannity?......HAHA...let them come and see Blackwell's numbers plummet even farther.

Oh-6 and OH-13 are NOT going to require a lot of money from the Dems to keep, they are going to require a boatload of money from the republicans to even have a chance of winning. Charlie Wilson has the personal endorsement of Ted Strickland in the 6th District whiich is as good as gold in that District - I wonder what facts you are basing your statement on that the Democrats will need to spend heavily to retain this seat. And all the republicans' money will be spent trying to defend Chabot, Pryce and Ney.

Posted by: Ohio guy | May 9, 2006 1:07 PM | Report abuse

I have no facts and old ideas so I will just throw around some insults bolstered by a few leftie talking points. According to these precious readers I am a clown, I am silly, a nutjob, etc. this is the usual Dem strategy. No ideas, no issues on and on. If you all are so brilliant, why can't you win an election? If your ideas are so compelling, why do you resort to pre-K behavior? I admit there are a few decent points made here, but for the most part it is still just angry left bloggers with no agenda except chastisement.
I will give you all the press and media but we rule the courts, the house, the Senate, the presidency, the state houses. See a pattern here? no amount of loud and obnoxious opinion can overcome these facts. no one in the real world is listening to you anymore - you are like old dinasours who don't realize that the giant meteor has landed and your time is dwindling. check out the MSM news ratings, the CNN ratings, the NYT circulation. See another pattern? now look at fox news. hmmmmm. explain, discuss.

go back to shouting insults now. It will make you feel better about your demise. but still, try to win an election now and then.
Oh I forgot, you lost all those elections because of some giant conspiracy.

I do respect what you said RMill though. ther is some hope for a few of you.

Posted by: king of zouk | May 9, 2006 12:54 PM | Report abuse

VBOH: thanks very much for your excellent, boots-on-the-ground analysis.

Nutbars: See how VB does it? Decent argument, reasonable conclusions, logical presentation of the facts. Parts of it are arguable (don't know enough about Space to counter) but still possible. Please take notes or just go back to the Faux News echo chambers.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | May 9, 2006 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Yes Cajun Kate we are really worried about Jim McDermott's horrible scandal from 6 YEARS AGO, where he caught Gingrich and Boehner LYING about Gingrich's ethics violations. Oh please please please can we start worrying about that one and bring it up in the press?

Sigh...That one's probably too old. I guess we'll have to settle for DeLay, Cunningham, Ney, Abramoff, Taft, Frist, Reed, Rove, Libby, Norton, Wilkes, Foggo, Doolittle, Safavian, Weller, Sherwood, etc. Darn.

Posted by: Adam | May 9, 2006 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Good morning your Honor:
Ney is not out of the woods by any stretch. There is still plenty of time for an indictment...maybe. IF he is indicted he will step aside and thank you RMill for offering Joy Padgett who would be an excellent popular candidate.

I agree that Space is not a credible candidate. He can't beat Ney now nor Padgett if she should take the seat.

Now, let's be realistic that the Dems have finite money for November and have to prioritize their races. I would love to see them spread themselves thin trying to beat DeWine, Pryce and Ney/Padgett when in fact their best chances are merely to retain OH-6 and 13, both of which are going to require mucho bucks to keep.

Also, the National Dems have to put money into the governor's race as well as Secy of State. Do they have the money for that?

"Show me the money," "follow the money."


Posted by: vivabsuh04OH | May 9, 2006 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Earth to Republican Nutbars: "Earlier this year internal REPUBLICAN polling showed Ney TRAILING Space in a hypothetical head-to-head match-up."

Capitalization mine; it's always nice when people who post to a blog all start from a common perception of reality. Suggest you read the above, attempt to comprehend and get back to us when your lithium kicks in.

VBOH, are you around to offer some intelligent rebuttal instead of these lunatics?

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | May 9, 2006 6:08 AM | Report abuse

I'm with king of zouk-there is absolutely no evidence of Ney having done anything wrong-if there were he would have been indicted by now. This is just the usual smear by association practiced by the Dems who haven't had a new idea since the 1960's. If people were guilty because of association Clinton would be serving a life time sentence.

I think the Dems better start worrying about all their ethics ridden pols-Jeffries, Mollohan, Kennedy, Pelosi, Reid, McDermott, not to mention the offspring of the Wisconsin dems who were found guilty of slashing tires in an effort to stop people from being able to get to the polls. And by the way, there is a new scandal brewing w/Hillary-read Captain Ed's blog-he's got the scoop

Posted by: CajunKate | May 8, 2006 11:00 PM | Report abuse

>>>Fox? Isn't that the network for deadenders?

Not unless you want to be Bush's Press Secretary :P

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | May 8, 2006 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Fox? Isn't that the network for deadenders?

Posted by: Will in Seattle | May 8, 2006 7:44 PM | Report abuse

I think 'zouk' must be slang for 'denial'. What a clown.

Posted by: ErrinF | May 8, 2006 7:13 PM | Report abuse

You're being too cautious. When top aides are pleading guilty and telling investigators that they traded political favors for valuable gifts, that's a scandal. Time to leave the "perception" disclaimers behind.

Posted by: homelander | May 8, 2006 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Repubs have Ohio in it's backpocket, due to blackwell having control of all the diebold machines. It was proven that in 2000 and 2004 there were more Democratic votes that became Republican. Barring any election reform, Ohio will continue to be one of the most corrupt states with corrupt officials in the country.

Posted by: 56Emma | May 8, 2006 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Among numerous silly things, king of zouk says, "if 51% of the people don't pay attention, it doesn't matter."

Methinks king of zouk is forgetting all about that key electoral ingredient known as "turnout." Angry, outraged voters are motivated voters; they show up in far greater proportions than people who don't pay attention (many of whom aren't even registered voters to begin with).

The stench of political death hangs oppressively over Ney. The suspense lies less in the prospect of his impending demise than in wondering when the state and national parties will finally pull the plug. (Meanwhile, dead-enders like zouk will continue to hold their noses and declare the air refreshing, like a cool breeze over an open sewer.)

Posted by: Hill dweller | May 8, 2006 5:20 PM | Report abuse

I see a lot of things that Volz did but the actual actions of Ney are not that clear to me. It is not unusual for lobbyists to ask for things from Members. you would have to show that they always did what they were asked and never did anything they weren't asked. this is a standard trick of the smearmongers but occasionally a Member does something because that is what they believe. and the lobbyists who are getting paid to influence them naturally claim credit for this to enhance their stature and fees. At worst, I see a few meals that didn't get reported properly. I still want to see some action that would be contrary to already existing efforts - someone changed their mind after getting a bribe. not seeing it here. compare this to Duke for a sanity check. honestly, who sells out for drinks and concert tickets?

Posted by: king of zouk | May 8, 2006 4:59 PM | Report abuse

There is evidence and sworn testimony. See the plea agreement by aide Neil Volz. There are specific cases of quid pro quo spelled out in his testimony. And do you think that Volz was the only one privy to this?

When these kid staffers start getting heat from a federal investigation and can't fund raise defense funds of their own, the house of cards comes tumbling down.

And DOJ is very careful in pursuing indictments of congressional members for obvious reasons. They will wait until the noose is complete before they name name's. Trust me, Representative #1 is in plenty of hot water and knows it.

Posted by: RMill | May 8, 2006 4:42 PM | Report abuse

You may be correct about abandoning our candidate. I hope that will not come to pass. Where have all the politicians with any spine gone? I am waiting for my $100 gas check and will vote for whoever signs the bottom. Whatever happened to loyalty? I don't care for all this smearing unless its a Kennedy.

Posted by: king of zouk | May 8, 2006 4:38 PM | Report abuse

You have to realize that the situation at the national level is much different than it is locally but can have a direct impact.

While the majority of the public may not be concerned with the issue on a day-to-day basis (awareness and deliberate concentration are also two different things), the party folks deal with this everyday. They are allocating resources across the US.

When Ney begins to drag down the ticket in Ohio, #1 on both party's to do lists, decisions will be made with or without Ney's input. He will see national coordinators pull out, money dry up, phone calls not returned.

And party insiders watch/listen/read to CNN and FOX and even WaPO. The people they raise money from across the nation do as well. The stakes for November are too high, the control and leadership of the US House and Senate are up for grabs at this point. The RNC will not sacrifice that control for one embattled congressman (neither would Dems for that matter).

If they can recruit say, and I'm just spitballing here, State Senator Joy Padgett, who was just on the statewide primary ballot as the running mate for AG Jim Petro and is now free to pursue other career moves, to take the appointment to the seat, they would have an excellent chance of holding the seat with a minimum of resource expenditure as her senate district overlaps a large portion of the Congressional district and her name recognition has been elevated having been on TV commercials recently.

Wouldn't this be an easier fix than riding out potentially national and negative news regarding a member of their party?

Posted by: RMill | May 8, 2006 4:34 PM | Report abuse

I have no doubt that some people in that district are paying attention. the real question is are they swing voters or Republicans, because if 51% of the people don't pay attention, it doesn't matter. If Zack's people pay twice as much attention, that doesn't count. He will attempt to run his campaign on negative adds and smears. I hope this doesn't work and not because I like Bob Ney. this is the lazy approach to elections and needs to die out. Does Space have any issues? see what I mean about the funny name?

Posted by: king of zouk | May 8, 2006 4:33 PM | Report abuse

I have to agree that this is shaping up alot like the Delay situation with Ney stepping down in a month or so. I just don't see the GOP establishment (RNC, RCCC etc.) giving one penny to help Ney. Take that with the Taft scandal and Ohio is looking pretty bad for the repubs.

Posted by: Andy R | May 8, 2006 4:30 PM | Report abuse

This not my real name and will not be found on any ballots.
Facts are something with which most Dems seem to have difficulty. Let me get this straight now - Abramoff gave away stuff. he was a lobbyist. He gave stuff to all sorts of people including many Members.
that's it for the facts. I suppose you will want to add that there were some favors exchanged for something of value. what? mention in the congressional record? meals, sports games, trips? these things are offered and accepted all the time in business and so far no formal arrangement for their value has been established, especially in Congress. After the fact, it may seem the Ney displayed some poor judgment (along with many others) but at the time and still there is no crime here and no evidence strong enough to do anything about. why do you think there have been no indictments yet? this is an effort to stain a reputation and alter an election - typical Dem effort to override the voting booth with willing allies in the press. Facts can be uncomfortable - Read your friend in the WaPo (dailyKos) and seek an answer to why you can't break 50% in national elections.

Posted by: king of zouk | May 8, 2006 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Cafaro had over $1 M in OH 13 and lost. Delay made every indication he would not step down either.Delay had similar support in TX 22 in his primary results as Ney. He waited until he had secured the nomination before announcing his resignation so the party could name a successor who could hold the seat without the distraction.

Regardless of how Ohioians get their news in that part of the state, the clock is ticking and every day that goes by that Ney is in office, spending more time raising money for his legal defense fund rather than for re-election, he will be a drag on the GOP ticket. The National and Ohio GOP cannot afford to wait too long or they will jeopardize their other races on the ticket.

And I have been in the district a few times over the past few months and trust me, they are paying attention to this issue.

Posted by: RMill | May 8, 2006 4:16 PM | Report abuse

>>>The name alone sounds just too silly to be taken seriously.

Pretty bold from someone with the moniker "King of Zouk". Seriously "king" have you ever even heard of Jack Abramoff? You speak as though the Abramoff affair is a liberal blogger conspiracy, but you forget or ignore that he has already plead guilty to massive criminal corruption (that clearly involves Ney). I suggest you wake up to reality or come back when you are able to deal with facts.

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | May 8, 2006 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Have you seen CNN's ratings lately? All thinking people have made the switch over to Faux news. Most outside the beltway people just don't pay any attention to this stuff.
Ney has made every indication that he is in this for the long haul and the party has not said a thing. this all sounds like a lot of wishful thinking on your part. If you can't beat them fair and square in the voting booth, try the courts, the papers or as a last resort, smear tactics based on conspiracy theories and innuendo. no one in that part of Ohio is going to pull the lever for "Zack Space". The name alone sounds just too silly to be taken seriously. If you want to see who will win, look at dollars in the bank.

Posted by: king of zouk | May 8, 2006 4:06 PM | Report abuse

They loved DeLay in Texas too. And I assume they get CNN in OH 18. They will see and hear the news. It's only a matter of time. If the strongest members of the Republican House caucus was not going to stand up to the scrutiny, Bob Ney won't either.

Plus, how much money will the RCCC want to dump into this district with a candidate under impending indictment. They will push for a viable candidate to retain the seat in GOP control.

Posted by: RMill | May 8, 2006 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Conviction is not the exact same as a plea agreement. Still all innuendo and suggestion. Ney is well-liked at home and will survive this. Those folks don't read the liberal rags.

Posted by: king of zouk | May 8, 2006 3:53 PM | Report abuse

The primary is past and one of Ney's aides is now convicted. There won't be much "DeLay" in Ney resigning now. This is a recognizable pattern.

Posted by: RMill | May 8, 2006 3:46 PM | Report abuse

I suppose "looming indictment" is as good a qualification for this Congress as any other...

Posted by: vienna local | May 8, 2006 3:45 PM | Report abuse

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