Former Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio), who served time in federal prison for his involvement in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, is out with a new book, Sideswiped: Lessons Learned Courtesy of the Hit Men of Capitol Hill. In it, he rips the cover off the alleged bad boy behavior of longtime Capitol Hill reporter John Bresnahan, now a reporter for Politico. Ney’s references about him stem from when he was previously a reporter for Roll Call.
In Chapter 26 of the 377-page tell-all, Ney makes Bresnahan out to be unethical and bullying. “The only way to describe Bresnahan is to utilize the name given to him behind his back and widely used by staff, even by friendly staff, and that was ‘troll,’” Ney wrote. “He is a muckraking reporter, and it was said that he would only attempt a positive story if forced as a means of getting to the mud. Bresnahan had no limits and no problem with threatening or destroying anyone in his path. He was considered a ‘bottom feeder’ who eventually ended up at Politico, a political journalism organization.”
If he was a “bottom feeder,” it is abundantly clear from the chapter, titled “The Press Á La Abramoff,” that Bresnahan was one that Ney personally feared. Nearly the entire chapter focuses on him, bordering on obsession. In several graphs, Ney describes an incident in which he says Bresnahan was angered that Ney’s office had failed to give him a big scoop about their legal fund. He spoke of an email that Bresnahan wrote to his then-flack, Brian Walsh, former spokesman for the NRSC, which allegedly said he was going to “fuck Mr. Ney.” Ney wrote, “This sent chills down my spine.”
An interesting factoid: According to Ney, Abramoff’s plan was going to buy the Capitol Hill newspaper, Roll Call, and make Bresnahan editor. Point being, the purchase would give Abramoff more power. “I, as well as others at the time, feared the vicious, corrupt Bresnahan,” Ney wrote.
In other weirdness, Ney writes of poker games in which hundreds and thousands of dollars were spent, with Bresnahan being among the players with Abramoff associate Tony Rudy, and then-Delay aide Mike Scanlon, House staffers and lobbyists. Ney wrote that it was “speculated” that lobbyists purposely folded to “feed money to Bresnahan.” In 2005, Ney wrote, he lost hands to avoid getting bad press, saying he’d rather lose than piss “John” off. Sure enough, Bresnahan allegedly showed up at Ney’s office to collect his $200.
Politico has declined to comment.