Ethics Watchdog Calls for Investigation into Democrat Marie Newman for Allegedly Violating Federal Law and Ethics Rules

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 12: Rep.-elect Marie Newman (D-IL) arrives to the Hyatt Regency hotel on Capitol Hill on November 12, 2020 in Washington, DC. Orientation begins for the newly-elected members today and will run through Nov. 21. (Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)
Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), a non-partisan ethics watchdog, filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics, requesting an immediate investigation into Democrat Rep. Marie Newman (IL) for allegedly violating federal law and ethics rules.

Kendra Arnold, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust executive director, wrote in her letter attached to the complaint, FACT is requesting an investigation.

This is due to recent reports showing Newman allegedly promising Iymen Chehade a six-figure salary, taxpayer-funded, if Chehade reportedly did not run against Newman in the already tight race, in addition to apparently helping her win.

Previously reported, Newman, court documents show, in December 2018, two years before Newman was elected to office, Newman and Chehade allegedly signed an agreement.

The agreement stated, “in the event that Newman is elected,” Chehade would assume the job of  “Chief Foreign Policy Advisor” with “a salary of no less than between $135,000 and $140,000 per year, less applicable required taxes and withholdings.” In addition, during the second year of his employment, they allegedly agreed, “Newman will provide Chehade cost-of-living and merit raises pursuant to standard office policies.”

Newman won, but the job apparently never came, which is why the Chehade filed a suit.

Arnold outlined the federal law:

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,” Arnold said in a statement.

As FACT’s CEO, she continued to say, “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[s] to immediately investigate as this is clearly not tolerated in American,” Arnold added. 

She concluded her letter to the ethics office by mentioning, “to the best of her knowledge and ability, all evidence submitted was not obtained in violation of any law, rule, or regulation.” She added the ethics office is typically responsible for this type of investigation to ensure congressional members fulfill “the public trust inherent in the office” in addition to “the House’s ethical standard.”

She is Arnold is asking for an investigation to start immediately.

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