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FIRST ON FOX: A senior staff member of House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., appears to be providing legal services to the congressman, which would violate House rules, a watchdog group says.
Fox News Digital has learned that Nadler’s district director, Robert Gottheim, performed fiduciary services as an attorney for the New York Democrat from 2019 to 2021 while meeting the senior staff threshold.
Gottheim has been a member of Nadler’s staff since 1998 and had been paid for services by the congressman’s campaign from 2003 to 2018, but did not meet the senior staff payment threshold.
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House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., appears to have violated House ethics rules by paying a high-level staffer for campaign legal services.
Seconds Data from the Federal Electoral Commission (FEC).Gottheim has received $81,345.00 between 2019 and 2021 from the Nadler campaign for legal and strategic services, as well as $940 from the New York Democrat’s Leadership Political Action Committee (PAC).
The Rules of ethics of the Chamber of Representatives prohibit senior staff, members and officers of the chamber “from receiving compensation for practicing any profession involving a fiduciary relationship, including, for example, law or accounting,” as well as receiving “any compensation for rendering legal services to a political organization, or to serve as an officer (such as a treasurer) of that organization.”
A spokesperson for Nadler’s campaign told Fox News Digital that Gottheim “does not practice law in any capacity, including for the campaign” and served as a “strategic advisor” to the campaign.
“He is a campaign adviser, who has no fiduciary responsibility,” the spokesman said. “When the campaign files its quarterly reports, the treasurer has to choose a category to list his expenses, so he chose ‘strategic and legal advice.’ He’s a strategic advisor, not a lawyer.”
However, the New York City West Side Democrats’ official page, which says Gottheim serves as treasurer, notes that the congressman’s district director has been “Nadler’s congressional counsel, handling all financial issues and campaign compliance with the FEC” since 1997.
Nadler’s campaign did not immediately respond to follow-up questions from Fox News Digital.
House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) is running in the Democratic primary for New York’s new 12th district against Nadler.
(Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
Caitlin Sutherland, executive director of government watchdog Americans for Public Trust (APT), told Fox News Digital that “Jerry Nadler brags about being the ‘conscience of the House,’ but he can’t even be sure that your top employee complies with simple rules of house ethics.”
“It is absolutely against the law to be compensated for campaign work that involves fiduciary duties, and therefore we will consider filing a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics,” Sutherland continued.
A similar situation occurred in 2017 regarding the late Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., when an ethics complaint was filed against the deputy and his chief of staff on the two roles of head of Lewis’ official office and as his campaign treasurer.
Nadler has been widely praised for leading the party during his tenure, with then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., calling him a “gifted constitutional scholar” and “the conscience of the Chamber”.
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Because of New York’s shrinking delegation, the Empire State Democrat is locked in a cross-member contest with House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., for the new 12th District of the state.
Nadler is already heading to this November’s general election as the candidate for the Working Families Party, so even if Maloney wins the Democratic nomination, she will face the Judiciary Committee chairman again of the Chamber.
Houston Keene is a political reporter for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to Houston.Keene@Fox.com and on Twitter: @HoustonKeene