Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a watchdog group, announced yesterday that it has written up an ethics complaint against Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) and is now in search of a member of the House to file it. The complaint centers around Ney’s dealings with the Tigua Indian tribe, which was represented by embattled lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
CREW said it was going public with the complaint after having privately approached several House members to file it and been turned down. Only current members of the House, not outside groups, may file ethics complaints. CREW drafted former Rep. Chris Bell’s (D-Texas) complaint against House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) in 2004.
Responding to news of the complaint, Ney spokesman Brian Walsh said, “Anything they write is not worth the paper it’s written on. This is such a joke it’s not even worth responding to.”
The ethics committee commenced an informal fact-finding last fall regarding Ney’s dealings with the Tigua. At the time, Ney had expressed an interest in meeting with the committee, but scheduling conflicts got in the way. Since then, the ethics committee has been roiled by controversy and Walsh said it was unclear where the inquiry stands.
Earlier this year, Democrats refused to allow the ethics committee to organize after Republicans pushed through rule changes that Democrats said were designed to protect DeLay, who has been criticized for his own dealings with Abramoff. Only recently did Democrats allow the committee to organize after Republicans reversed the rule changes.