Sunday, January 15, 2006

 

'Mayor' of Cap Hill steps down [Updated]

We wrote yesterday that the screws were turning and now word snuck out late Sunday that Bob Ney was giving up his position as the powerful chair of the House Administration Committee. The post, which gave Ney access to some of the most powerful lobbyists in Washington, bestows upon whoever hold the position the unofficial - but not hyperbolic - title of "Mayor of Capital Hill." Ney says his departure is only 'temporary.'
"Unfortunately it has become clear to me in recent days that the false allegations made against me have become a distraction to the important work of the House Republican Conference and the important work that remains ahead for the House Administration Committee," Ney said in a written statement.

. . .

A GOP leadership aide said Friday that House Speaker Dennis Hastert was pressuring Ney to step aside because he believes it would be inappropriate for him to head the committee with jurisdiction over the Republican reform agenda.

Ney's statement Sunday said he had notified Hastert earlier in the day of his decision.

"I want to assure my colleagues and my constituents that I have done absolutely nothing wrong, and I am convinced that I will be vindicated completely at the end of this difficult process," Ney said.

Ney will maintain his chairmanship of a housing subcommittee, said his spokesman, Brian Walsh.

The GOP leadership aide who spoke Friday on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of private talks between Ney and Hastert, said the speaker himself could not have fired Ney. Unless Ney agreed to step aside it would be at least three weeks until the GOP caucus could consider removing him, the aide said.
That last paragraph suggest that another shoe is going to drop sooner than three weeks. We're thinking indictments in a matter of days.

[Update] The General's links to new Ney revelations in Newsweek about Iran and bribery-related emails also provide a logical explanation for Ney's move today.

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