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Spotlight on Lobbying Swings to Little-Known Congressman

New York Times, January 17, 2006:
Until recently, Representative Bob Ney was little more than an obscure, sometimes eccentric, lawmaker from Ohio.

He had made his biggest public splash in 2003, when he ordered the House cafeteria to start calling French fries "freedom fries" because France had opposed the war in Iraq. Fluent in Farsi - an interest that grew out of having an exchange student live with his family - Mr. Ney lived for a time in Iran as a teacher, and later taught in Saudi Arabia.

In Congress, where the language of money and power is spoken, he is known as the Mayor of Capitol Hill, a nickname derived from his position as chairman of the House Administration Committee, which controls aspects of daily Congressional life like the allotment of parking spots.

Now, Mr. Ney has a new title: Representative No. 1, in court documents filed in connection with the Jack Abramoff case. And the modest glory he has achieved as a lawmaker appears to be rapidly eroding.