NJ congressman's lapses too blatant to ignore
Numerous charges of ethical violations have not resonated with voters, giving Rob Andrews a clear shot at re-election.
In fact, Andrews' misdeeds got worse.
In 2011, Andrews, his wife Camille and their two daughters flew to Scotland to attend a donor's wedding at a five-star hotel, giving the happy couple a set of fine china. In the process, he racked up more than $13,000 in expenses that he charged to his campaign committee. Although he repaid the money, the trip expenses were strongly questioned by Congress' ethics office, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
But he didn’t stop there.
The New Jersey Democrat spent $10,000 in campaign contributions on a party billed as a joint celebration of his 20th anniversary in Congress and his daughter's high school graduation, the Star Ledger reports. Andrews also allegedly spent other people's money to support the show business aspirations of one his children, including at least $97,000 on travel expenses to California.
Ethical groups have accused his campaign committee of donating $100,000 to a Philadelphia theater where one of his daughters regularly performs, according to the Courier-Post. In addition, Andrews reportedly directed $1.5 million in earmarks to his wife's employer, the Rutgers University School of Law.
The Office of Congressional Ethics has referred Andrews' case to the House Ethics Committee, which is extending its investigation indefinitely, CBS News reports. Andrews, a 22-year veteran, has insisted that he has done nothing wrong. But officials who police miscreant lawmakers may think otherwise.
"I think they are going to come down pretty hard on Andrews," said Melanie Sloan, the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), which filed a complaint against Andrews. In an interview, she added that the rules on abusing campaign contributions are "pretty clear."
Andrews, though, stands a good chance of being re-elected, since the ethics charges have not resonated with voters. His district is solidly Democratic. The Philadelphia Inquirer even endorsed him for re-election, "with reservations," observing that the Republican party didn't put up a credible candidate.
None of Andrews' previous challengers have come close to beating him, even in 2008, when he launched a primary challenge to Sen. Frank Lautenberg. Andrews' wife replaced him on the primary ballot and won her election. But when Andrews lost in the Senate primary, Camille Andrews withdrew from the congressional ballot and her husband was allowed back on and won another term.
Though I am against term limits, Andrews' misadventures make a convincing case for the idea. CREW has placed the Democrat on its list of the most corrupt members of Congress.
To read more about Andrews, click here.
Follow Jonathan Berr on Twitter@jdberr
Democrat or Republican does not matter - get all of these abusers out of government. They make great money and have even better benefits - ie: non Obamacare - Cadillac healthcare insurance and a limousine pension fund.
WE NEED TO SEND A MESSAGE TO THESE THUGS - YOU ARE NOT WANTED AS A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE PEOPLE!
the rules state that you can not use the company card for private expenses, even if you intend to pay it back.... that's the rules of my company card.
If he had to buy clothes after the airline lost his luggage, didn't he have a personal credit card he could have used?
Follow the rules or get voted out.
So what is he number 433!
"Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely". This man Andrews is at the mercy of his electorate and of fellow politicians. He's going to have to do something a lot worse than this to get kicked out. You know, like taking bribes and kickbacks from defense contractors, stuff like that.
Didn't 21 term congressman Rangel in NY15th also involved with ethics violations? Do you expect Congress to condemn their own. Censure? A token gesture.
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