Ethics panel determines Dem Rep. Newman possibly bribed primary opponent: Report

A House Democrat is under fire after the release of a bombshell report this week.

According to the startling allegations, Rep. Marie Newman (D-IL) is accused of essentially bribing a political opponent into dropping a possible primary bid.

“Not the only reason”

The House Ethics Committee included a mountain of evidence showing that Newman signed a contract with Iymen Chehade promising that she would employ him as her chief foreign policy adviser — complete with a six-figure salary — if he did not run against her in the primary election.

Reports indicate Newman subsequently reneged on her promise and failed to hire Chehade, prompting a lawsuit against her.

In its report, the ethics panel determined: “In a motion to dismiss Mr. Chehade’s case, Rep. Newman, through her legal counsel, the General Counsel of the U.S. House of Representatives, acknowledged that her contract was violative of House employment and federal contracting rules.”

Furthermore, the report found that despite Newman’s assurances, “Mr. Chehade’s policy expertise was not the only reason she contracted to employ him in the future.”

Her real motivation, the report concluded, was “to avoid competing against Mr. Chehade in the next Democratic primary.”

Potential ripple effect

Documents presented as evidence appear to discredit Newman’s account, which would mean she committed an ethics violation and lied to House investigators. According to analysts, Newman’s actions could be prosecuted and land her behind bars, not to mention effectively end her political career.

The development also comes as bad news to House Speaker (D-CA), who has been fighting an uphill battle to hold onto a slim majority on Capitol Hill.

Democratic leaders are facing the reality that Republicans are poised to regain a majority in the House following the upcoming midterm races. An ethics violation by a lawmaker in their party is the last thing they need heading into election season.

It remains to be seen whether Newman will ultimately face criminal charges and a prison sentence for her actions.

The impact of these allegations on the Illinois Democrat’s political future is also up in the air — and her party should be concerned about what effects the situation could have on their diminishing congressional power.

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