Speed Reads

Congressional Ethics

House Ethics Committee takes up alleged violations by a Colorado Republican and Illinois Democrat

The House Ethics Committee said Monday it will review alleged violations of federal law by two members of Congress, Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) and Rep. Marie Newman (D-Ill.), sent over by the Office of Congressional Ethics. The ethics watchdog said in reports Monday it found "substantial reason believe" that Newman promised a federal job to a political rival and Lamborn misused his staff and other resources for personal purposes.

Newman, who unseated conservative Democrat Rep. Dan Lipinski in 2020, and Lamborn, an eight-term congressman, both said they would fight the ethics complaints and predicted they would be cleared by the House Ethics Committee. 

The Office of Congressional Ethics said in its report that Newman made Iymen Chehade, a foreign policy adviser to her campaign, "certain promises about future employment" during the Democratic primary. Chehade later sued Newman for breach of contract, and the two settled the case and signed nondisclosure agreements.

The Lamborn report is more colorful. "The OCE uncovered evidence showing a pattern and practice in Rep. Lamborn's office of official staff conducting personal and campaign-related tasks for Rep. Lamborn, his wife, and other family members during official work hours, and using official resources," the ethics watchdog wrote. Those tasks included throwing a naturalization party for Lamborn's daughter-in-law, helping his son prepare to apply for federal jobs, and running all manner of errands for the congressman's wife, Jeanie Lamborn, who sometimes slept in the office with her husband and reportedly had authority to hire and fire staffers.

The OCE also said it found "substantial reason to believe" Lamborn illegally solicited or accepted substantial gifts from his office staff, pointing to chief of staff Dale Anderson as the messenger of expectations. Anderson "instructed each office to provide gifts valued between $125 and $200 for the Lamborns," preferably "related to beer and food," the report says.

"I would tell Dale Anderson what we were getting to make sure that it was his approval and also the dollar amount was high enough, and that the congressman and Mrs. Lamborn would be okay with it," one witness told investigators.

Lamborn and some current staffers told the OCE that staff members volunteered for these assignments. Two former staffers disputed that assertion. "We had one party, [a] naturalization party," one former staffer said. "The day of, I was like, how am I going to get compensated for this? And, again, Dale Anderson just laughed."