Ney aide subpoenaed in corruption probe

An aide to embattled Rep. Bob Ney has been subpoenaed in the Justice Department’s investigation of influence peddling in Congress, and three other aides are leaving the Ohio Republican’s staff, Ney’s spokesman said Thursday.

The subpoena for Matthew Parker, director of Ney’s congressional district office, was issued by a federal magistrate in Washington.

Ney has not been accused of any wrongdoing, but federal prosecutors have described him in court documents as having received gifts, trips and other things of value from disgraced former lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his associates.

Ney spokesman Brian Walsh declined to comment on Parker’s subpoena.

Parker is the first member of Ney’s staff to be subpoenaed by the Justice Department since Ney himself was subpoenaed in November.

Ney’s chief of staff, William Heaton, and Paul Vinovich, the staff lawyer for the House committee Ney used to lead, were subpoenaed by the defense in the related trial of former Bush administration official David Safavian, who was found guilty of lying and obstructing the federal corruption investigation.

Walsh said he will leave next month to take a job with Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. He also confirmed that Heaton is leaving in July and that Chris Otillio, Ney’s former legislative director, left earlier this month.

© 2006 The Associated Press