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Another Democrat from Illinois is in a jam that harkens back to the scandal involving former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was alleged to have attempted to get paid for appointing someone to the Senate in place for former President Obama after he won the presidency.
In this case, the House Ethics Committee has been asked to investigate allegations that Rep. Marie Newman, from the Chicago area, may have offered a job to a rival in order to not have a primary challenge, The New York Post reported.
The allegations claim that Rep. Newman offered Iymen Hamman Chehade, a Palestinian-American professor, a congressional office post in order to not have him campaign against her.
The post would have paid allotted the Columbia College and Art Institute of Chicago professor, between $135,000 and $140,000 a year starting in January 2021.
The independent watchdog OCE said it found “substantial reason to believe” Chehade, who later sued for breach of contract after he wasn’t ultimately hired. That case has since been settled.
“At the start of her 2020 campaign, Rep. Newman made Mr. Chehade certain promises about future employment in her congressional office. Those promises were reduced to a contract signed by both parties,” the report from the Office of Congressional Ethics said.
“In 2021, after Rep. Newman did not hire Mr. Chehade, he sued to enforce the contract, claiming that he decided not to run for the 2020 congressional seat in reliance of her promise to hire him as a foreign policy advisor and either District Director or Legislative Director in her congressional office,” it said.’
In the documents, Newman and her attorneys “acknowledged that her contract was violative of House employment and federal contracting rules” in a motion they filed asking for the case to be dismissed.
Brian Svoboda, an attorney for the representative, said that the OCE finding “fails to mention that Rep. Newman came from a business background in startups, where it was common to seek employees for positions that did not yet exist, with organizations that did not yet exist and may not exist for even two years.”
“Office of Congressional Ethics votes 6-0 to find a reason to believe @RepMarieNewman ‘may have promised federal employment to a primary opponent for the purpose of procuring political support.’ Now goes to the House Ethics Committee,” Business Insider reporter Bryan Metzger said on Twitter about the case.
On Monday, the OCE recommended that the House Ethics Committee investigate another matter involving Republican Colorado Rep. Doug Lamborn on claims that he misused official resources and “solicited or accepted improper gifts from subordinates.”
According to the OCE report, Lamborn and his wife, Jeanie, allegedly misused staff for personal purposes including asking aides to help his son apply for federal jobs. At least five of Lamborn’s past and current staff told the OCE that they performed errands personal tasks the Colorado Republican and his family.
“He made it clear several times, where it caused a lot of stress and a lot of operational issues. He would explain that, and then Mrs. Lamborn would say, if mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy,’” the report, citing aides and former aides said.
The probe into Lamborn’s potential ethics violations comes in the wake of former staffer Brandon Pope filing a federal lawsuit against the congressman, alleging that he ignored COVID-19 precautions, creating an unsafe working environment.
“The Committee notes that the mere fact of conducting further review of a referral, and any mandatory disclosure of such further review, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee,” Florida Rep. Ted Deutch and Indiana Rep. Jackie Walorski said.