Friday, March 14, 2008
Liberal talk radio hires ex-con Ney By Jackie Kucinich Posted: 03/12/08 07:51 PM [ET] Former Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) has landed his first job since being released from prison last month.Ney is working in Columbus, Ohio, for the Talk Radio News Service (TRNS), thanks to his longtime friend Ellen Ratner. Ratner, a self-described “proud liberal” who is the TRNS bureau chief, confirmed that Ney is working for the communications company as the ex-lawmaker stays in a halfway house. TRNS is a news booking and host service dedicated to serving the talk radio community. TRNS has a Washington office that includes White House, Capitol Hill and Pentagon staffed bureaus, and a New York office with a United Nations staffed bureau, according to its website. In a telephone interview, Ratner said, “We have never had a Columbus office. Ohio is very important to us.” Ratner said the TRNS-Ney arrangement had been in the works for months and that she hoped to make Ney a political contributor once he is placed on probation. She hopes to make that transition as soon as August. “The Bureau of Prisons won’t let him be on air,” said Ratner. “He’s doing our daybook; he does research.” She added that some TRNS staffers were initially skeptical but are now convinced that hiring Ney was a good move. In February, Ney was released from a Morgantown, W.Va., prison to a halfway house in Ohio. Ney pleaded guilty in 2006 to corruption charges and was sentenced in January 2007 to serve 30 months in prison, but was released early. Ratner was among the family and friends gathered in the courtroom the day Ney was sentenced. In an October 2006 op-ed in The Hill, Ratner publicly defended Ney. “While I’m heartbroken about Bob and angry as hell about the Justice Department’s slimy tactics, I don’t worry about him,” she wrote. “I know my friend will look at incarceration not as the end of the road, but as a detour, a long-overdue chance to seek help for the alcoholism that has taken over more and more of his life these past few years.” She added, “He’ll be strong, and when all this is over, he’ll be a better man, a better husband and father — and he’ll still be my friend.” In a March 2007 interview the evening before he reported to prison, Ney told The Hill that a return to Washington was unlikely. “My family’s in Ohio, and that would tend to be where I want to be,” he said at the time. Rep. Zack Space (D) currently represents Ney’s former district.