The House Ethics Committee is looking into Democrat Marie Newman after she testified in court that she offered a possible political competitor a six-figure job. Newman presented the offer as a bribe to keep Chehade out of a 2020 primary battle, according to Chehade’s lawyers. During the trial, Newman’s taxpayer-funded lawyers admitted to a federal judge that the Democrat signed an employment agreement guaranteeing Chehade a senior position in her office if she were elected to Congress.
Chris Chehade claims he was offered a senior position in the office of New Jersey Senator Tammy Newman that would not require him to “keep particular hours at the office” and pay him $140,000. Chehade “foreseeably relied on this pledge by refusing to run for office,” according to his lawyers.
Newman’s office acknowledged the probe in a statement, saying that the committee’s inquiry is related to a “dismissed litigation.” However, following Newman’s deal with Chehade, the complaint was withdrawn “by agreement,” according to the Democrat’s office in July. Kendra Arnold, executive director of the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, told reporters at the time that congressional investigators might utilize facts from the civil case against Newman.
Civil culpability, government ethics, and criminal liability are all distinct concepts. According to Arnold, who filed a complaint against Newman with the Office of Congressional Ethics in May, the civil court matter is between her and the individual. “Whether or not they settle their difficulties has nothing to do with the ethical matter or her concerns with the federal government,” Arnold says.