Ethics Watchdog Calls for Investigation into Rep. Newman for Violating Federal Law & Ethics Rules
Evidence filed in court shows Rep. Newman promised government employment for apparent political gain
Washington, D.C.— May 26, 2021— Today, the non-partisan ethics watchdog, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), filed a complaint requesting the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) immediately investigate Representative Marie Newman of Illinois for promising employment with her Congressional office to a potential primary challenger as an inducement not to run against her.
In December 2018, Newman and Iymen Chehade were both considering running for Congress when they entered into a written contract to memorialize Newman's offer of government employment. The contract between Newman and Chehade contained very specific terms: Chehade’s employment as a “Chief Foreign Policy Advisor” and a “District Director OR Legislative Director” was to begin on January 3, 2021, at a salary of “no less than between $135,000 and $140,000 per year.”
Under federal law and ethics rules it is prohibited to use an official position and resources for political purposes or political gain. This prohibition extends both to candidates for Congress and members. One specific law provides:
“Whoever, being a candidate, directly or indirectly promises or pledges the appointment, or the use of his influence or support for the appointment of any person to any public or private position or employment, for the purpose of procuring support in his candidacy shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if the violation was willful, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.”
“On no level does the law allow our public officials to use taxpayer funds for their own benefit, and in fact it specifically prohibits promising a future government job in an attempt to gain political support by persuading an opponent not to run against you. This is a serious allegation against Rep. Newman, and the written employment contract is extremely persuasive evidence in this case. The Office of Congressional Ethics and Department of Justice need to immediately investigate as this is clearly not tolerated in American,” said Kendra Arnold, Executive Director of FACT.
A full copy of the complaint can be found by clicking here.
FACT is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting accountability, ethics, and transparency in government and civic arenas. For more on FACT, visit: http://www.factdc.org/