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Last Updated: Monday, 7 August 2006, 15:31 GMT 16:31 UK
Key Republican quits amid scandal
Ohio Congressman Bob Ney
Mr Ney has been ordered to testify but not charged with a crime
A leading US Republican lawmaker facing corruption allegations has said he will not run for re-election in November.

Ohio congressman Bob Ney said he would stand down from the seat he has held for 12 years because of his family.

But the Democrats, who put the focus on Mr Ney as part of their election effort to paint the Republicans as corrupt, said he had been forced out.

Prosecutors say Mr Ney took gifts and trips at the expense of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. He denies it.

"Ultimately this decision came down to my family. I must think of them first, and I can no longer put them through this ordeal," Mr Ney said in a statement.

"Congressman Ney has done nothing wrong, and there is no credible basis to charge him with a violation of the law," his lawyers Mark Tuohey and William Lawler said in a statement accompanying his announcement that he would stand down.

But the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee pounced on the news of Mr Ney's withdrawal.

It called him an example of "the culture of corruption in Washington".

Link to scandal

His former chief of staff Neil Volz pleaded guilty earlier this year to charges of conspiring to corrupt Mr Ney and other members of Congress.

Jack Abramoff

Mr Ney has been ordered to testify in court but has not been charged with any wrongdoing.

The case concerns his links to Abramoff, who pleaded guilty in January to conspiracy to bribe public officials and to other influence-peddling crimes.

The former Republican leader in the House of Representatives, Tom DeLay, has also said he is stepping down in the face of links to Mr Abramoff.

The Democrats are fighting a court battle to keep him on the ballot for technical reasons.

They are hoping to capture 15 seats in order to take control of the lower house of Congress in November's elections.


SEE ALSO
US fraud lobbyist pleads guilty
03 Jan 06 |  Americas
Top US lobbyist accused of fraud
12 Aug 05 |  Americas
'Hammer' with mythical powers
28 Sep 05 |  Americas
DeLay conspiracy charge dropped
05 Dec 05 |  Americas

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