And don't let the door hit you on the way out

Bob Ney's would-be GOP successor says it's time for him to get out of the way.

Published September 19, 2006 7:11PM (EDT)

Joy Padgett, the Republican nominee for Bob Ney's seat in Congress, says it's time for him to get out of the way. In a statement, Padgett says that Ney's "admission of guilt to serious charges requires his immediate resignation" from Congress.

Ney has given up his committee assignments already, but he's been mum on whether he intends to enjoy the other privileges of office -- the salary, the members-only elevators, the free postage -- until his term expires in January. Padgett says that if Ney won't resign on his own, Congress should throw him out "as soon as possible."

She shouldn't hold her breath. As much as House Republicans might like to see Ney go away, they also don't want to bring any more attention to his existence than necessary. Majority Leader John Boehner tells reporters that it would be premature to do anything about Ney until he actually enters a guilty plea next month. "A lot of things are going to happen between now and then, and I would prefer to allow this decision to be his," Boehner says. "Until he has his day in court, I don't think it's up to me to comment what he should or shouldn't do."

Why hasn't Ney taken it upon himself to quit? Now that the Jack Abramoff gravy train has run dry, Republican House aides are speculating that the congressman needs to keep collecting a House paycheck for as long as he possibly can.

By Tim Grieve

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

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