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Ethics Committee extends look at complaint against Marie Newman until late January

Friday, Dec 10, 2021 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Ethics Committee press release

Pursuant to House Rule XI, clause 3(b)(8)(A), and Committee Rules 17A(b)(1)(A) and 17A(c)(1), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee on Ethics have jointly decided to extend the matter regarding Representative Marie Newman, which was transmitted to the Committee by the Office of Congressional Ethics on October 25, 2021.

The Committee notes that the mere fact of a referral or an extension, and the mandatory disclosure of such an extension and the name of the subject of the matter, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee.

The Committee will announce its course of action in this matter on or before Monday, January 24, 2022.

* Background from Roll Call

Rep. Marie Newman has agreed to settle a lawsuit alleging she bribed a potential primary opponent not to run against her, putting to rest a bizarre episode in Illinois Democratic politics.

Iymen Chehade had alleged that he and Newman entered into an employment contract in December 2018 that said if Newman won the congressional race in Illinois’ 3rd District in 2020, Chehade would be hired in her office and paid between $135,000 and $140,000 annually.

“In an effort to induce Chehade not to run against her in the primary, Newman offered Chehade employment as Foreign Policy Advisor and Legislative or District Director,” the lawsuit said. […]

In a May filing, Newman’s lawyer in her official capacity as a member of Congress, House General Counsel Douglas Letter, acknowledged that the contract was signed by Newman but she did so as a private citizen, not as a member of Congress. The reasoning that follows is that Newman in her private capacity could not bind Newman in her public capacity.

“Although the agreement was signed by Congresswoman Newman in her personal capacity (because she had no official capacity in which to act before her election), it purports to bind her in her official capacity to hire Mr. Chehade in her Congressional office,” Letter said in the filing.

Click here to see the lawsuit, and click here to see the Federal Election Commission disclosure by Marie Newman for Congress of about $29K in payments to Chehade this year.

* Meanwhile, in other news, I told subscribers about this the other day

Springfield Republican seeks House appointment as springboard to Senate

Springfield resident Kelly Thompson, a project manager for the Illinois Chamber of Commerce-affiliated Illinois Environmental Regulatory Group, confirmed Wednesday that she plans to seek appointment to [former Rep. Mike] Murphy’s seat. […]

Though she did not address a possible Senate bid, the Herald & Review has confirmed that Thompson plans to run against [appointed Sen. Doris Turner, D-Springfield] in 2022. In that contest, she will have the backing of the Illinois Senate Republican Caucus’ campaign arm.

Regardless of Thompson’s campaign plans, her appointment to the House seat is not a certainty. In a Tuesday email to committeepersons, county party chair Dianne Barghouti Hardwick said there would be an open application process.

* Politico

— Jonathan Logemann has been endorsed by Democrats Serve PAC in his run for the 17th Congressional District. The political action committee supports Democrats running for office with public service backgrounds. In making the endorsement Brett Broesder, the PAC’s executive director, highlighted Logemann’s experience as a teacher, veteran, and alderman.

— Congressman Darin LaHood (R-Dunlap) has been endorsed by all the Republican state senators and representatives in the newly redrawn 16th District. “Coming together as a party is critical in the 2022 election cycle,” LaHood said in a statement. List of endorsements

— Congresswoman Marie Newman has received an endorsement from the Transportation Communications Union/IAM, which represents more than 44,000 active and retired members across the country, including Metra and Amtrak employees in Illinois.

— Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi has been endorsed by six Chicago aldermen and state Sen. Sara Feigenholtz in his reelection campaign. Along with Feigenholtz, the council members endorsing are Alds. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th), Rosanna Rodríguez Sanchez (33rd), Nicholas Sposato (38th), Andre Vasquez (40th), James Cappleman (46th), and Maria Hadden (49th).


  1. - Wow - Friday, Dec 10, 21 @ 10:56 am:

    Marie Newman. Unethical progressive. The worst kind of fraud

  2. - UPS - Friday, Dec 10, 21 @ 11:00 am:

    I saw a protest about the Newman ethics charges outside of her Chicago office over the summer. Seemed some local activist were trying to raise awareness about the matter. Interesting things going on in that district, yet no word from Lipinski?

  3. - Watchful eye. - Friday, Dec 10, 21 @ 11:04 am:

    Is she really that dumb?

  4. - Fav Human - Friday, Dec 10, 21 @ 11:06 am:

    extends ethics probe until late Jan

    So there is plenty of time for mailings and ads about how MN is really just like the Chicago Machine.

    How convenient :)

  5. - the chicago way - Friday, Dec 10, 21 @ 11:06 am:

    This is a wild story and one that I think hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves. Newman has little credibility if she wants to critique the Republican attacks on democracy - she herself offered a government job in a political deal.

  6. - DuPage Saint - Friday, Dec 10, 21 @ 11:08 am:

    I am more offended by Newman’s use of a technicality to void the contract. Who knew you could not enforce a contract with a candidate that would go into effect of candidate won. Guess there is truth to old saying: An honest politician is one who when bought stays bought

  7. - MOON - Friday, Dec 10, 21 @ 11:15 am:

    Nobody should vote for a person as stupid and obviously guilty of bribery.

    I will vote for anybody other than Newman who runs under the guise of “A REformer”.

  8. - Blue Dog - Friday, Dec 10, 21 @ 11:27 am:

    very Trump-like.

  9. - Candy Dogood - Friday, Dec 10, 21 @ 11:38 am:

    ===Click here to see the lawsuit===

    Okay everyone, I didn’t read the lawsuit until after I commented but you guys really need to at least skim the copy of the employment contract. It is bananas that it exists, bananas that Marie Newman signed it.

    It was polite of the plaintiff to agree to a settlement.

  10. - Henry Francis - Friday, Dec 10, 21 @ 11:39 am:

    Put a potential primary opponent on the payroll? Why not just find another Palestian-American to run to dilute his vote?

    Worked for MJM and wasn’t illegal.

  11. - Donnie Elgin - Friday, Dec 10, 21 @ 11:46 am:

    “After Newman won the Democratic primary race in March 2020, she told Chehade she would not fulfill the contract”

    Bribery is one thing - but not keeping your word is even worse.

  12. - Angie - Friday, Dec 10, 21 @ 11:47 am:

    The woke movement is getting smacked upside the head today with this revelation and the Jussie Smollett guilty verdict.

  13. - thechampaignlife - Friday, Dec 10, 21 @ 11:55 am:

    ===critique the Republican attacks on democracy===

    Big difference between run of the mill patronage corruption and inciting insurrection to attack the Capitol and assassinate the VP.

    ===Newman in her private capacity could not bind Newman in her public capacity===

    My first instinct was to think how ridiculous an argument to make, then I remembered things like trusts and Citizens United. The ways we can split hairs about what is a person are as numerous as the stars.

  14. - Paddyrollingstone - Friday, Dec 10, 21 @ 11:56 am:

    Candy Dogood -could not agree more. Bananas it is.

  15. - JS Mill - Friday, Dec 10, 21 @ 11:57 am:

    =very Trump-like.=

    Ouch. But not wrong.

  16. - Ron Burgundy - Friday, Dec 10, 21 @ 12:07 pm:

    -Put a potential primary opponent on the payroll? Why not just find another Palestian-American to run to dilute his vote?-

    Another one did run and got about 5% in the primary.

  17. - Ducky LaMoore - Friday, Dec 10, 21 @ 12:08 pm:

    Gee, I can’t figure out why the congressional map turned out the way it did….

  18. - Ron Burgundy - Friday, Dec 10, 21 @ 12:13 pm:

    -you guys really need to at least skim the copy of the employment contract. It is bananas that it exists, bananas that Marie Newman signed it.-

    I did, and I question whether it would have been enforceable anyway. It lists a ton of stuff that Rep. Newman had to do, but very little about what Mr. Chehade would do. It didn’t even say he would promise to exercise his best efforts to meet the requirements of the position assigned, whatever it may be. At the very least this shows very poor judgment.

  19. - West Side the Best Side - Friday, Dec 10, 21 @ 12:18 pm:

    And to think, people thought Bill Lipinski handing off the job to his son Dan was the way politics works. Guess the new way involves putting the whole deal in a contract instead of the old “Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge. Know what I mean.”

  20. - Donnie Elgin - Friday, Dec 10, 21 @ 12:19 pm:

    My first instinct was to think how ridiculous an argument to make, then I remembered things like trusts and Citizens United. The ways we can split hairs about what is a person are as numerous as the stars…

    Corporate personhood and speech is not a newly recognized right - it goes back to 1886

    Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company was decided on May 10, 1886, by the U.S. Supreme Court. The case established, via a headnote, that corporations are considered persons under the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.

  21. - Rich Miller - Friday, Dec 10, 21 @ 12:31 pm:

    Ducky, that was golden

  22. - ChrisB - Friday, Dec 10, 21 @ 12:32 pm:

    ==Newman will use her best efforts to provide Chehade a private office
    within the congressional suite. If that is not possible given space
    limitations, she will assign Chehade an office shared by one other person

    Obviously neither of them had ever been to the Fifth Floor of Cannon HOB.

  23. - Amalia - Friday, Dec 10, 21 @ 12:34 pm:

    all I can say to the many women I know who drove miles and miles and gave money to support her, glad I was not with you.

  24. - Blue Dog - Friday, Dec 10, 21 @ 12:34 pm:

    kinda funny that Sean casten just posted some job openings.

  25. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Dec 10, 21 @ 12:43 pm:

    The thing about Newman…

    Newman feels entitled without anything to be entitled about.

    She’s a freshman, with limited allies, continually looking to be aggrieved, with seemingly an ethical blind spot.

    For different reasons but with the same ending, Illinois and the country might be better served, less Newman and Mary Miller in Congress.

    She almost makes Lipinski look good by merely being… herself.

  26. - Rudy’s teeth - Friday, Dec 10, 21 @ 12:47 pm:

    Did Marie Newman seek advice and counsel from Eddie Burke?

  27. - Long Time Independent - Friday, Dec 10, 21 @ 12:56 pm:

    Can you imagine a CD race of Newman against Keith Pekau. One facing a ethics complaint and one who has a habit of exaggerating his military service

  28. - A Guy - Friday, Dec 10, 21 @ 1:00 pm:

    Marie, how miserable are thee?
    Let us count the myriad of ways.

  29. - duck duck goose - Friday, Dec 10, 21 @ 1:12 pm:

    I’m struggling to get my head around the thinking behind the Chehade suit. The suit seems like a nonstarter. There is nothing in the employment contract that has any kind of quid-pro-quo. In fact, section 5(b) of the contract specifically disclaims that there was any inducement outside of the contract. This suit was never going to amount to anything more than the nuisance value that it apparently settled for.

    Second, if there is any improper quid-pro-quo, then it appears that, by his suit, Chehade has implicated himself. It’s illegal to make a bribe, but it’s illegal to take one too.

    That said, I don’t know that it’s illegal or unethical to offer a job to a potential political opponent. Eisenhower famously appointed Earl Warren to the Supreme Court in order to stave off a potential rival.

    Finally, it sure looks like the employment contract was written by a lawyer (although the internet is full of “templates”). Neither Chehade nor Newman are lawyers. If one or more lawyers were involved in this, then it appears that there’s malpractice afoot.

  30. - Candy Dogood - Friday, Dec 10, 21 @ 1:15 pm:

    ===Obviously neither of them had ever been to the Fifth Floor of Cannon HOB.===

    That contract is the kind of thing that hill staffers would genuinely find hilarious for a lot of reasons.

    I can just imagine what her attorney’s reaction to it was, or better yet her Chief of Staff. If I were in Nancy Juárez’s shoes I would be working hard to find a different congressional to work in.

  31. - Candy Dogood - Friday, Dec 10, 21 @ 1:16 pm:

    ===She almost makes Lipinski look good by merely being… herself===

    I think the People of Illinois deserve better than both.

  32. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Dec 10, 21 @ 1:21 pm:

    “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

    - A. Lincoln

  33. - here we go - Friday, Dec 10, 21 @ 2:50 pm:

    Jonathan Logemann appears to be the DCCC candidate with Cheri Bustos making calls on his behalf. I hear they like his military background to match up with Republican Esther Joy King who came close to Bustos in 2020. Litesa Wallace on paper could be good, but she’s not getting around the district, It’s early, but the clock’s ticking on endorsements for the inside game in the 17th.

  34. - Newman should withdraw - Friday, Dec 10, 21 @ 3:22 pm:

    @duck duck
    The contract alone was a breach of law.
    In addition to these provisions, during the 110th Congress, the House amended the Code of Official Conduct (House Rule XXIII, clause 14) to prohibit any Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner from influencing an employment decision or employment practice of any private entity on the basis of partisan political affiliation.

  35. - David - Friday, Dec 10, 21 @ 3:37 pm:

    Congresswoman Marie Newman always appeared to me to be a very shady and underhanded person. This proves me right and for the record, I also tend to vote as a progressive.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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