A subpoena, and some defections, for Ney's staff

Are aides jumping ship in anticipation of an indictment?

Published June 30, 2006 3:04PM (EDT)

Ohio Rep. Bob Ney has insisted that he'll run for reelection even if he's indicted in the Jack Abramoff probe. It will be a lonely experience if he does: Three of Ney's aides are leaving him as a fourth prepares to testify before a federal grand jury.

Ney says the departures are just the natural comings and goings of congressional aides who "work very long hours." His Democratic opponent, Zack Space, sees people "abandoning ship" with a corruption probe "closing in."

While Ney hasn't been charged with anything yet, his indictment certainly seems like a foregone conclusion. Ney has been identified as the corrupt "Representative No. 1" in a number of case filings in the Abramoff investigation. He was subpoenaed in the case last fall, and now Matthew Parker, the director of his district office and the manager of his reelection campaign, has been subpoenaed as well.

If Republicans aren't thrilled with the prospect of having Ney on the ballot in November, well, it isn't the only race where they've got problems. Tom DeLay announced that he wouldn't run for reelection only after winning the Republican primary, and now a federal judge in Texas is deciding whether the Republicans will get a chance to replace him on the ballot or not; DeLay has had to resort to arguing that he has moved to Virginia and is therefore no longer eligible to be on the ballot. And in Florida, a new poll underscores just how unhappy the GOP must be with its likely Senate candidate there: Katherine Harris is trailing Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson by a margin of 59 to 26 percent, and only 35 percent of the Republicans surveyed said they want Harris to be their party's candidate. The problem? So far, they haven't come up with a better alternative.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

MORE FROM Tim Grieve

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

2006 Elections Tom Delay War Room