Ethics office says on behalf of Newman, Lamborn may have broken the law

WASHINGTON (AP) – Congressional ethics watchdogs concluded that U.S. Rep. Mary Newman of Illinois and Doug Grant Byrne of Colorado may have violated federal law, prompting a review by the House Ethics Committee.

A separate investigative report released Monday by the Congressional Ethics Office detailed a “good reason to believe” Democrat Newman promised federal jobs for his political opponents, while Republican Lamborn misused official resources for personal purposes.

While the Ethics Office conducts preliminary reviews and makes recommendations, only the House Ethics Committee has the power to punish lawmakers for misconduct. The committee said in a statement on Monday that it would review the reports and investigate further.

represent.Mary Newman, Illinois Democrat

Charges have surfaced against Newman over an employment contract between the Illinois Democrat and former foreign policy adviser Iymen Chehade during his successful 2020 House campaign. Newman was a progressive lawmaker, a staunch abortion opponent of ousted Chicago-area Rep. Dan Lipinski, and one of the most conservative Democrats in Congress at the time.

A lawyer representing Newman told the committee in December that the congresswoman “fully cooperated with the review,” but that the OCE “prejudged this matter from the outset.”

At the start of her campaign, Newman made “certain promises about future employment” to Chehad from her congressional office, the Ethics Office report said. In December 2018, the report read: “These commitments are reduced to contracts signed by both parties.”

When Newman didn’t hire Chehad, he sued to enforce the contract. He claimed he decided not to run for a congressional seat in 2020 because Newman promised to hire him as a foreign policy adviser during the campaign and then as district or legislative director when she takes office. In a motion to dismiss the case, Newman’s attorneys acknowledged that her contract violated House employment and federal contracting rules.

Newman eventually settled with her former adviser, and the two signed a nondisclosure agreement as part of the settlement. The OEC recommended that the House committee subpoena Chehade and political consulting group LBH Chicago as it reviews its findings.

A spokesman for Newman said on Monday that the OCE’s review stemmed from a “politically motivated” complaint by a right-wing group and that material produced during the investigation “overwhelmed that the ethics complaint was completely unfounded”.

Newman is a former management consultant who founded and led an anti-bullying nonprofit. During her run for the House, she argued that Lipinski no longer reflected the views of the district, which supported Democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential primary. She called herself a “true Democrat” during the campaign and said she would fight for Medicare for All, abortion rights and access to illegal U.S. citizenship.

represent.Doug Lamborn, Republic of Colorado

Lamborn’s report looks at complaints about lawmakers misusing official resources for personal and unofficial purposes. The OCE report includes interviews with three current and two former Lamborn employees, as well as interviews with the lawmaker himself.

“OCE found evidence that official staff in Rep. Lamborn’s office performed personal and campaign-related tasks for Rep. Lamborn, his wife, and other family members during official business hours, used official resources, and used patterns and practices of official sources.” said.

In a statement to the committee in December, one of Lamborn’s lawyers said: “A thorough examination of the facts will make it clear to all that no ethical violations have occurred and should likewise be dismissed.” Make a comment request and return immediately,

The report includes details about Laburn’s wife having access to the official House email account and even sleeping with him at the office at times. The lawmaker told the Ethics Office that his wife played a “significant role” in his congressional office, which at times included hiring, firing and promotions.

“While it is not unusual for a spouse to have a role in a congressional office or to have an official email account, evidence obtained by the OCE suggests that Mrs Lambourne had a role in the office beyond what the spouse would allow,” the report continued.

The OCE recommended that the House Ethics Committee review other allegations against Lamborn, including that he solicited or accepted improper gifts from subordinates. It also recommended subpoenas for Lamborn and several of his senior staff.

Lamborn, an eight-term congressman from Colorado Springs, was sued in May by a former staffer for allegedly ignoring the Washington office’s coronavirus safety protocols, allowing his A son lives in the basement of the U.S. Capitol and orders staff to run errands for his family.

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