Another aide bites the dust. How long can DeLay, Ney and others maintain their innocence?

Rep. Bob Ney’s (R-Ohio) former chief of staff Neil Volz pleaded guilty today to charges stemming from the Justice Department bribery and corruption investigation of convicted former Republican superlobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Like Tony Rudy and Michael Scanlon, two former top aides to Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) who have also entered guilty pleas in the wide-ranging investigation, Volz went to work for Abramoff after leaving his government job – further cementing Abramoff’s reputation as a one man revolving door operation between Congress and K Street.

With this latest guilty plea from a top aide, it increasingly beggars the imagination to conceive how members of Congress such as DeLay and Ney who were deeply invovled with Abramoff can continue to maintain their innocence. Their own legal problems aside (DeLay is under indictment in Texas for money-laundering and Ney is acknowledged to be "Representative #1" in the Justice Department’s investigation), how is it possible that so many of their top aides can plead guilty to engaging in criminal conspiracies – with indications that the conspiracies might have been hatched while they worked in Congressional offices – and yet their bosses knew absolutely nothing about it?

Perhaps it is the case – only time and further investigation will tell. But even if it is, should these members (and others who are in the investigation’s crosshairs) not then humbly resign for gross incompetence? How can the American people expect them to run our country when they cannot even run their own offices?

-Gordon Clark