If Ney, who is now sober, seems bitter toward Boehner, it isn’t for the late nights he said they spent at the bars. Ney said that Boehner urged him to drop his re-election bid in 2006 after news of the Abramoff travel scandal broke and that he was offered a lucrative gig if he resigned within 24 hours.
“Let me get this right. If I resign, you will get me a job comparable to the congressional salary and raise legal defense money for me?” Ney recalls asking Boehner.
“Absolutely, that’s the deal; you have my personal assurance and you can take it to the bank,” was Boehner’s response, Ney writes.
The plum position never materialized, of course, and Ney ended up going to prison.
Boehner’s office this week dismissed the allegations. Spokesman Michael Steel told multiple media outlets that Ney is a “convicted felon with a history of failing to tell the truth.” Boehner on Thursday called Ney a “disgraced congressman who went to jail” and dismissed the accusations as “baseless and false.”
“He better be very careful. He thinks a phone call between the two of us is very isolated, and I would argue that it’s not,” Ney said of Boehner’s response during an interview. “I have proof. I’m just going to wait a bit,” he added.
Steel said, “our position has not changed” since the earlier refutations.
Ney devotes a chapter to Roll Call and the role that one of its reporters at the time played in his eventual downfall, claiming that super lobbyist Abramoff at one point considered buying the publication in order to install then-reporter John Bresnahan as its editor. Ney claimed in an interview that Bresnahan “did Jack’s bidding.” In the book, Ney accuses him of cozying up to “Team Abramoff” and ignoring stories that reflected badly on former Texas Republican Rep. Tom Delay in favor of pillorying Ney in the press. DeLay was also convicted for his role in the scheme and is currently appealing that decision.
“I don’t believe Roll Call was aware of the alleged conspiracy behind Abramoff’s plan to buy the newspaper and make Bresnahan the editor,” Ney writes.
Bresnahan now works at Politico and the publication’s editor in chief, John Harris, dismissed the account as “malicious and flatly untrue.”
“John’s reputation for toughness and journalistic integrity is universally known and respected by his colleagues at Politico, at competing news organizations, and among lawmakers and staffers in both parties on Capitol Hill,” Harris said.
Ney told the Monocle crowd on Wednesday that he believes “the barrel is still corrupt.”
The ethics revisions enacted in the House after the Abramoff fallout are mere “window dressing,” he writes in the book.
Ney addresses the House Ethics Committee in his book. He says a political battle between then-Ethics Chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash., and then-ranking member Alan Mollohan, D-W.Va., meant the committee had not been officially constituted and could not consider his case. If it had, Ney believes, the reporting issue that the Justice Department used to ensnare him could have been resolved.
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., takes a selfie with his cut-out head during the Hoops for Youth 16th annual charity basketball game held at George Washington University's Smith Center, September 8, 2014. The members of Congress team beat the lobbyist team 46-40. Buy photo here.