May 25, 2022 Press Releases

Casten Responds to Newman’s Misleading Statement to Voters About Her Ethics Investigation

Downers Grove, IL — Today, U.S. Congressman Sean Casten’s campaign issued a statement once again calling on Congresswoman Marie Newman to publicly release the details of her settlement with Iymen Chehade, after Newman’s campaign posted a deceptive webpage misleading voters on the facts surrounding her bipartisan ethics investigation in her first detailed public statement about the investigation to date.

Casten for Congress Spokesman Jacob Vurpillat released the following statement:
“In her first detailed public statement about her bipartisan ethics investigation, Rep. Newman has repeatedly misled voters – no less than seven times in just a few short paragraphs. Instead of providing voters and the press with the transparency and honesty they deserve, Rep. Newman has attempted to deceive the people of the 6th District in hopes of downplaying the severity of her bribery scandal.

“For months, Rep. Newman has claimed that information will emerge that will discredit her bipartisan federal ethics investigation. Yet, with voting already underway in the Illinois 6th Congressional District primary, she has continued to mislead the public.

“Rep. Newman can and should clear this all up today. Her voters deserve to know: How much of the money entrusted to her by her campaign donors has she promised to pay Iymen Chehade? Has she made any additional promises to pay him with taxpayer-provided funds? Does the settlement provide Mr. Chehade with any input on her policy positions or impact on her votes, as suggested may be the case based on her email exchanges with Mr. Chehade? What did Mr. Chehade commit to provide Congresswoman Newman in exchange for the cash payments?

“Out of respect for voters, Congresswoman Newman should immediately release the details of the secret settlement at the heart of her bribery scandal.”

Here are seven of the falsehoods that Rep. Newman told in her first detailed statement on the investigation, which can be found here:

FALSEHOOD: Rep. Newman claims that “This complaint is….without merit” and that they “fully expect the Office of Congressional Ethics to find as much when they complete their review.”
FACT: The Office of Congressional Ethics completed its review, finding “substantial reason to believe that Rep. Newman may have promised federal employment to a primary opponent for the purpose of procuring political support.” OCE unanimously referred the ethics investigation of Rep. Newman to the bipartisan House Ethics Committee (Source).

FALSEHOOD: Rep. Newman claims that “On May 26, 2021 the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), a far-right Koch backed organization, used the already settled lawsuit as a basis…”
FACT: The ethics complaint was filed on May 26th, however, Iymen Chehade’s lawsuit was not “already settled”. In fact, Rep. Newman was notified of the ethics complaint on June 17th and did not settle Chehade’s suit until June 29th, more than a month after her ethics complaint was filed. (Source)

FALSEHOOD: Rep. Newman claims that “She and Mr. Chehade had a professional disagreement” and that “the two agreed to an amicable settlement.”
FACT: After the lawsuit was filed in May of 2021, a spokesperson for Rep. Newman called Chehade’s suit “nothing more than a desperate grab for money.” (Source). In her testimony to the Office of Congressional Ethics, Newman also said Chehade “was a bad fit for the job,” “incredibly disrespectful,” “hard to get along with,” “screamed at me often,” and showed “very significant red flags.” (Source).

FALSEHOOD: Rep. Newman claims that the ethics complaint filed against her is “politically motivated and factually inaccurate.”
FACT: The nonpartisan Office of Congressional Ethics voted unanimously to conclude “there is substantial reason to believe that Rep. Newman may have promised federal employment to a primary opponent for the purpose of procuring political support” (Source). Citizens for Responsible Ethics in Washington (CREW), the largest liberal-leaning ethics watchdog organization in the country, has also raised serious concerns about Rep. Newman’s ethics (Source) and so have Midwestern statewide Democratic elected officials (Source).

FALSEHOOD: Rep. Newman claims “As is common with complaints filed with OCE, the review process was moved to the House Ethics Committee.”
FACT: In the 116th Congress, 6,136 citizens contacted the OCE. Just 18 of those turned into initial reviews, and only 7 were referred to the House Ethics Committee. (Source)

FALSEHOOD: Rep. Newman claims that she “has worked collaboratively and transparently with the Ethics Committee throughout this process.”
FACT: Rep. Newman refused to allow Iymen Chehade to cooperate with the Office of Congressional Ethics investigation (Source). Rep. Newman also failed to tell investigators during her deposition that Chehade is currently on her political payroll, and is her highest-paid campaign staff (Source). Meanwhile, some of her closest former allies further questioned the accuracy of her testimony (Source).

FALSEHOOD: Rep. Newman claimed that the “complaint lacks merit, and we expect it to be dismissed in the coming months.”
FACT: It’s now been one year since the complaint was first filed and four months since it was referred to the House Ethics Committee. It’s been five months since Newman’s campaign manager promised information that will “be definitively clear that there was no ethical wrongdoing” (Source). Yet, voters have already started casting their ballots and her ethics investigation has not been dismissed nor has it been discredited.