GOP Congressman From Illinois Won't Run in 2008

By Carla K. Johnson
Associated Press
Saturday, September 22, 2007

JOLIET, Ill., Sept. 21 -- Rep. Jerry Weller (R-Ill.), facing questions about his ethics, announced Friday that he will not seek an eighth term.

"I need to give my family the time needed to be a full-time dad and full-time husband," Weller said during a Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce luncheon. "I'm 50 years old; I've given half of my life to public service."

He refused to take reporters' questions.

Weller is fighting a subpoena in a former colleague's bribery trial, and he faces criticism that he did not reveal to Congress the extent of his Nicaraguan land purchases. Weller spokesman Andy Fuller said the decision not to run was made in late spring or early summer and had nothing to do with the criticism.

A Chicago Tribune investigation showed that Weller did not report several Nicaraguan land deals in congressional ethics statements, and that Weller reported in the United States higher purchase prices on other transactions than were reported in Nicaragua.

The Tribune also reported that Weller's wife, Guatemalan congresswoman Zury Rios de Weller, had set up a nonprofit corporation in Illinois whose board includes Jerry Weller's mother, brother and business associate.

That led to questions about whether Weller should report his wife's finances to Congress. He has claimed an exemption from the rule, saying that he knows nothing about her economic situation and does not contribute to or benefit from it. Zury Rios de Weller is the daughter of former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt.

Weller is among 13 congressmen who were recently served subpoenas to testify for the defense in a case against a contractor accused of bribing imprisoned former congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Calif.).

Seven other House Republicans have announced that they will step down at the end of this Congress's term.

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