So Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) -- once known to Jack Abramoff and his lobbying team as "our friend," now known to federal prosecutors as "Legislator #1" -- is finally pleading guilty this morning, according to news accounts.
We'll be all over the event and its repercussions like CNN on a blonde's disappearance. But first -- a look back, to our favorite moments with Bob Ney:
July 28, 2006: When federal prosecutors subpoena one of his aides, Ney suggests they're trying to throw his upcoming election. "[D]onât you find it unusual that after 17 months that the Justice Department all of the sudden, 120 days before the election, subpoenas a staffer. They could have called him within the last 17 months. Iâll leave it right at that. I find it very unusual.â (Ney has since dropped out of the race.)
June 9, 2006: Ney angrily emails a reporter for his story about a junket Ney improperly reported. "Let me tell you paul-last week you did not call us for comment âyou were under deadline.' . . . Print the same story-change it to reprint the same story-people in new philly â dâs and râs call it âelkâs politics.â . . . Please-please-print this paul-you donât care about ohio-i am sick of your crap. You are a d c person who couldnât find ohio unless we gave you a map. You donât give two shoots about our people."
April 20, 2006: Ney spokesman Brian Walsh told us, "Frankly, it's an unfortunate commentary on the justice system that someone has to spend a lot of money simply to clear their name. . . . in what is in this case completely false allegations." (Walsh has retained his own counsel in the matter; he resigned from Ney's office in June.)
May 8, 2006: Again, Walsh: "[T]he congressman is more confident than ever that he will be vindicated in this matter. . . . the congressman will not under any circumstances plead guilty to a crime he did not commit" -- in retrospect, a rather clever denial -- "Congressman Ney has said from day one that he has done absolutely nothing illegal, improper or unethical."
Jan. 15, 2006: Facing a growing scandal and pressure from GOP leadership, Ney resigns his chairmanship of the House Administration Committee. "I want to assure my colleagues and my constituents that I have done absolutely nothing wrong and I am convinced that I will be vindicated completely at the end of this difficult process," he says defiantly.
"[O]nce these false allegations have been put to rest, and I have the full confidence that they will be, I look forward to resuming the chair for the rest of my appointed term and continuing the important work of the committee," Ney declared that day. Alas, his spot on that panel appears to be gone forever. But he'll always be the chairman of a small place in our hearts.
Bob -- Thanks for the memories.