Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, has agreed to step aside temporarily as chairman of the House Administration Committee because of allegations about his links to a lobbying scandal, but he will continue to chair a housing subcommittee."He plans to continue to chair the [House Financial Services] housing subcommittee," a Ney spokesman said. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., urged the Ohio congressman to step down as chairman of the Administration Committee because of his relationship with lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who recently pleaded guilty to conspiracy to bribe public officials, including Rep. Ney. Rep. Ney has denied any wrongdoing and maintains that he will be vindicated when the investigations are completed. But the Speaker's spokesman, Ron Bonjean, said it would be a "big problem" having Rep. Ney lead the Administration Committee, which is expected to take up lobbying reforms early this year. "There are people that have pled guilty who have conspired to bribe him," Mr. Bonjean said. Rep. Ney announced his decision to relinquish the Administration Committee post after chairing housing subcommittee hearings Jan. 13-14 in New Orleans and Gulfport, Miss, on housing problems related to Hurricane Katrina.

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