Rep. Bob Ney of Ohio today agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy charges and making false statements in the Jack Abramoff scandal. Under the arrangement, he will make his plea next month in federal court in Washington.
The plea agreement came as a new Republican nominee was selected in Ney's rural eastern Ohio district. State Sen. Joy Padgett took about two thirds of the vote Thursday in a five-way primary. She faces Zack Space, the Democratic nominee, in November.
Padgett said she would be able to separate herself from Ney and the scandal, having had experience in distinguishing herself from unpopular Republican officeholders.
"There was an attempt in 2004 to try to Velcro me to [Gov.] Bob Taft, and that didn't work," Padgett told the Associated Press.
The federal probe has focused on gifts Ney received from Abramoff, including a 2002 golfing trip to Scotland. Earlier this year, Ney's former chief of staff, Neil Volz, pleaded guilty to charges that he attempted to bribe the congressman after Volz joined Abramoff's lobbying group.