- Rep. Marie Newman hired a political opponent she is accused of bribing, according to The Daily Beast.
- She is under investigation for reportedly promising a rival a position in exchange for not running.
- Records show that Newman did hire the man as a foreign policy advisor on her campaign.
Federal campaign records show that Rep. Marie Newman, who has been accused of bribing a possible primary opponent in exchange for giving him a job, did in fact hire her political rival, according to The Daily Beast.
The Illinois Democrat came under fire last week when the Office of Congressional Ethics published a report saying Newman signed a contract with Palestinian-American professor Iymen Chehade — who was considering a possible 2018 primary run against her — promising him a senior role in her congressional office should she win the election, provided he agreed not to run.
After Newman won her 2020 election, however, she failed to hire Chehade and he sued. The two ultimately reached an undisclosed settlement.
But according to The Beast, Newman ended up hiring Chehade after the lawsuit was settled, putting him on her campaign payroll as a foreign policy advisor. The lawmaker’s most recent FEC filings, reviewed by The Beast, show Chehade received $54,000 total in the second half of 2021, primarily through $7,500 monthly salary installments with the occasional $2,000 additional disbursement.
The payments to Chehade began on July 1, 2021, only two days after Newman and Chehade settled the lawsuit, The Beast reported. The FEC filings suggest Chehade is the highest-paid employee on Newman’s campaign, according to the outlet.
The Office of Congressional Ethics’ report included a photocopy of Newman and Chehade’s “employment agreement,” showing Chehade agreed he would be hired as a foreign policy advisor and would remain in the role until Newman left Congress, as long as he didn’t breach contract stipulations. The agreement also said Newman would pay Chehade between $135,000 and $140,000 with cost-of-living adjustments and merit raises.
It is not standard for Congressional campaigns to employ foreign policy advisors and Newman does not serve on any foreign policy committees. However, the contract Newman and Chehade signed stipulated he would eventually serve in that specific role.
Newman’s campaign told The Beast that Chehade was an “important member of our team.” A spokesperson for Newman did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Newman told the oversight panel that she hired Chehade because of his extensive knowledge of Arab-American affairs, which she believed was a shortcoming in her 2018 campaign.
“It was clear that he had very specific knowledge around Palestine and Israel that I needed. He had been an expert on it,” she told investigators.
But the Office of Congressional Ethics report suggested Newman had an ulterior motive for hiring Chehade. The panel suggested Newman entered the agreement to avoid having to run against Chehade in the next primary.
Documents she herself provided to the body include an October 2018 email in which Chehade says he will not “announce or submit his candidacy” in their district “in exchange” for being hired as Newman’s chief foreign policy advisor.
In a response to the body’s report, Newman said she was “outraged and incensed” by the allegation.
The case now goes to the House Ethics Committee, where it will be reviewed by her peers.
In December, Chehade announced that he was running for Congress in a new district that was created after redistricting.
Chehade’s campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.