Ney Can't Say No

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Ney meets with Afghan President Karzai to see if there\'s any legislation he needs in exchange for a free golf vacation to Kabul
Even after admitting to crimes while in office, Rep. Bob Ney (R-Rikers) isn't saying when he'll resign his seat. On Friday, Ney pleaded guilty to conspiracy and lying charges for his role in the Jack Abramoff lobbyist pay-to-play scheme. Although his crimes are punishable by up to 10 years in prison, prosecutors have agreed to seek a sentence of a little more than two years behind bars. Yet Ney has yet to resign his seat in Congress. Ney's lawyer, Mark Touhey, claimed that Ney would resign before his January 19 sentencing — but that's 16 days after his term expires anyway. Republican House leaders, already smarting from the Foley scandal, say they'll try to expel him -- a marked change from the days when Tom DeLay was accused of similar crimes, only see Republicans rig the ethics committee to muddle an investigation. We called Ney's office seeking answers, to no avail. On the day Ney pleaded guilty, spokeswoman Katie Harbath wasn't answering the phone. Anyone who called was instead greeted by a recording of Ney himself, in happier times, saying "I'm sorry no one is available" and promising "we will return your call as soon as possible." Except that Ney hasn't been returning anybody's calls. Last week, he followed the well-trodden path of Mark Foley and Mel Gibson by checking himself into an alcohol rehabilitation program. In a statement given to reporters, Ney wrote, "The treatment and counseling I have started have been very helpful, but I know that I am not done yet and that I have more work to do to deal with my alcohol dependency." Do the 12 steps still work if your God is the almighty buck? -- Kevin Hoffman

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