A Democrat House member might have bribed a potential primary opponent by offering a job in her office in exchange for support during the primary.
Rep. Marie Newman, D-Ill., denies the allegation and the objects to aspects of the report filed by the Office of Congressional Ethics, which voted 6-0 to refer the case to the House Ethics Committee for further evaluation.
"OCE's referral fails to present grounds for investigation," Newman's legal counsel Brian Svoboda wrote in a 13-page response to the report. "The facts, which OCE consistently omitted whenever they favored Rep. Newman, show that virtually every element of the allegation is false: that she did not offer employment in exchange for political support, but rather on the merits, to someone who was not a primary opponent, and in any case before she was a candidate."
The report was conducted after the House Ethics Committee received a referral.
"Rep. Newman, during a successful campaign for election to the U.S. House of Representatives, may have promised federal employment to a primary opponent for the purpose of procuring political support," the 13-page report read. "If Rep. Newman used her candidacy to promise federal employment, she may have violated federal law, House rules, or standards of conduct."
It found Newman offered Iymen Chehade a job as "foreign policy adviser and either District Director or Legislative Director" if she were to win election in November 2020, but Chehade was given a position and sued Newman to enforce a contract they had signed.
Seeking to dismiss that lawsuit, Newman's legal counsel argued that contract "was violative of House employment and federal contracting rules."
"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," the House Ethics Committee wrote in a press release Monday.
The House Ethics Committee has been advised to issue subpoenas to Chehade and LBH Chicago, which is a Democrat consulting firm.
"Recently, a right-wing organization filed a politically-motivated complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) regarding a dismissed lawsuit," Newman's communications director Pat Mullane wrote in a statement to Business Insider. "The materials produced during the OCE's review overwhelmingly demonstrate that the ethics complaint is completely meritless."
Newman lost to former moderate Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., in 2018 before defeating the eight-term lawmaker in a 2020 Democrat primary. Lipinski, an anti-abortion Democrat, has said he lost that primary because Newman received support of multiple progressive groups and leaders in the party who targeted him because of his views on abortion, according to the Washington Examiner.
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.