updated 9/19/2006 5:51:05 PM ET 2006-09-19T21:51:05

A top House Republican on Tuesday called for Rep. Bob Ney to resign, days after the six-term GOP lawmaker agreed to plead guilty to federal corruption charges.

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"He betrayed his constituents, he betrayed the body and there's no place for him in the Congress," said Rep. Deborah Pryce, the fourth-ranking Republican in the House.

Last week, Ney admitted improperly accepting tens of thousands of dollars worth of trips, meals, sports tickets and casino chips while trying to win favors for a disgraced Washington lobbyist and a foreign aviation company.

Course reversal
The Ohio congressman had defiantly denied any wrongdoing for months, but he reversed course and agreed to plead guilty in court papers filed Friday. Prosecutors will recommend he serve 27 months in prison.

Ney, who is under treatment for alcohol dependency, was expected to formally plead guilty in court Oct. 13.

Mary Jo Kilroy, Pryce's Democratic opponent, has called for Ney to step down and give up his federal pension.

Another Republican facing a close re-election race, Steve Chabot of Cincinnati, said through a spokesman that any lawmaker responsible for criminal wrongdoing should step down. Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Bennett and Ohio state Sen. Joy Padgett, the Republican running to replace Ney in Congress, have already called for Ney's resignation. 2006 key races

But House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, cautioned that Ney hasn't formally pleaded guilty and could change his mind before his scheduled court appearance. He has said repeatedly that resignation is a decision for Ney and his family to make.

"Until he has his day in court, I don't think it's up to me to comment what he should or shouldn't do."

Barry Bennett, chief of staff for Cincinnati-area Republican Rep. Jean Schmidt, took issue with Ney collecting a paycheck if he isn't actively representing his district.

"Short of expulsion, we can't make him leave, but meanwhile nobody is going to be voting for the constituents of the 18th district for the next two weeks and maybe not for two weeks in November and two weeks in December," Bennett said. "It's not right."

Ney's chief of staff, David Popp, and lawyer William Lawler could not be reached immediately for comment. Lawler said Friday that Ney was not ready to resign.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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