WASHINGTON — House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert is trying to force out Ohio Rep. Bob Ney as chairman of the House Administration Committee, a week after Justice Department documents linked Ney to a bribery scheme involving convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Ney's committee has jurisdiction over Republican efforts to make changes in the wake of the Abramoff scandal, and Hastert believes it is inappropriate to let Ney run it, said a GOP leadership aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the negotiations between Ney and the speaker.
Ney confirmed he was talking with Hastert about stepping down from the chairmanship.
"I'm considering it -- stepping down temporarily -- and once the issue is over, I'll come back," he said. "Life continues. I'll continue to do my job."
Ney maintains that he has done nothing wrong, but said there was so much controversy about Abramoff that he did not want to get in the way of Congress continuing its work.