Ethics Office Says Reps. Newman and Lamborn May Have Violated Law | Colorado News

By FARNOUSH AMIRI, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — A congressional ethics watchdog has concluded that U.S. Representatives Marie Newman of Illinois and Doug Lamborn of Colorado may have violated federal law, prompting the ethics committee of the Room to examine.

Separate investigative reports from the Congressional Ethics Office released Monday detail a “substantial reason to believe” that Newman, a Democrat, promised a federal job to a political opponent and that Lamborn, a Republican, misused resources officials for personal use.

Although the Ethics Office conducts the initial review and makes recommendations, only the House Ethics Committee has the authority to punish a lawmaker for wrongdoing. The committee said in a statement on Monday that it would review the reports and investigate further.


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The allegations against Newman arose out of a legal dispute involving an employment contract between the Illinois Democrat and Iymen Chehade, a former foreign policy adviser during his successful 2020 House campaign.

A lawyer representing Newman told the committee in December that the congresswoman is “fully cooperating with the review”, but that the OCE “has prejudged the matter from the beginning”.

The Ethics Office report says that early in his campaign, Newman made Chehade “certain promises regarding future employment,” in his congressional office. “These promises were reduced to a contract signed by both parties,” in December 2018, the report said.

When Newman failed to hire Chehade, he sued to enforce the contract. He claimed he decided not to run for congressional seat in 2020 because of the promise that Newman would hire him as a foreign policy adviser during the campaign and then district or legislative director once she had took office. In a motion to dismiss the case, Newman’s attorney admitted that his contract violated federal employment and contracting rules.

Newman ended up settling the matter with his former adviser and the two signed nondisclosure agreements as part of a settlement. The OEC recommended that the House committee subpoena Chehade and the political advisory group LBH Chicago as it reviews its findings.

A spokesperson for Newman said Monday that the OCE review stemmed from a “politically motivated” complaint by a right-wing organization and that documents produced during the investigation “comprehensively demonstrate that the ethical complaint is totally unfounded”.


The report on Lamborn examines complaints that lawmakers misused official resources for personal and unofficial gain. The OCE report included interviews with three current and two former Lamborn staffers as well as interviews with the lawmaker himself.

“The OCE has uncovered evidence showing a pattern and pattern in Rep. Lamborn’s office of official personnel performing personal and campaign-related duties for Rep. Lamborn, his wife, and other family members during business hours. official work and using official resources,” the report said.

In a December statement to the committee, a lawyer for Lamborn said, “A thorough review of the facts will make it clear to everyone that no ethical violation has occurred, and the same should be dismissed. A request for comment from Lamborn was not promptly returned,

The report includes details of Laborn’s wife having access to an official House email account and even sometimes sleeping in the office with Lamborn. The lawmaker told the ethics office that his wife played “an important role” in his congressional office, which sometimes included hiring, firing and promotion.

“While it is not unusual for spouses to have a role in a congressional office or to have an official email account, evidence obtained by the OCE indicated that Ms. Lamborn had a role in the office that exceeded what is permitted for spouses,” the report continued.

The OCE recommended that the House Ethics Committee review other allegations against Lamborn, including that he solicited or accepted inappropriate gifts from his subordinates. He also recommended issuing subpoenas to Lamborn and several senior members of his staff.

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