WASHINGTON – Rep. Bob Ney, who has agreed to plead guilty to federal corruption charges, stepped down from two House committee positions Monday but did not say whether he would leave Congress.
The Ohio Republican said in two letters to House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., that he would immediately give up his positions as chairman of the Housing and Community Opportunity subcommittee, which oversees the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and as head of the Franking Commission, which governs lawmakers' use of public money to express opinions in mailings.
Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Bennett called on Ney to resign Friday, soon after it was announced that Ney would plead guilty to making false statements and conspiracy to commit fraud, make other false statements and violate U.S. lobbying restrictions. The congressman is expected to plead guilty Oct. 13.
Ney has not participated in House floor votes since Sept. 12, House records show. The House returns to session Tuesday.
When asked if Ney was working Monday, his chief of staff, David Popp, said he could not comment on whether Ney would return to his elected duties before his term expires in January. Ney earlier dropped his re-election bid.
Ney's lawyer William Lawler declined to comment on the committee resignations or if the congressman had made any decisions about keeping or leaving his House seat. Last week, Lawler said Ney wasn't ready to resign and was seeking treatment for alcohol abuse.
Hastert was in Russia on Monday and not available for comment on whether he wants Ney to resign, spokesman Ron Bonjean said.