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FIRST ON FOX: A senior staffer for House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., appears to be providing legal services to the congressman, which would break the 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 between 2019 and 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 between 2003 and 2018, but he did not meet the senior staff payment threshold.
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According to Federal Elections Commission (FEC) data, Gottheim has been paid $81,345.00 between 2019 and 2021 by Nadler’s campaign for legal and strategy services as well as $940 from the New York Democrat’s leadership political action committee (PAC).
The House of Representatives’ ethics rules prohibit senior staff, members, and chamber officers from “receiving compensation for practicing any profession that involves a fiduciary relationship, including, for example, law or accounting” as well as receiving “any compensation for either providing legal services to a political organization, or for serving as an officer (such as a treasurer) of such an organization.”
A spokesperson for Nadler’s campaign told Fox News Digital that Gottheim “doesn’t practice law in any capacity, including the campaign” and served in a “strategic advisor” role on the campaign.
“He’s a campaign advisor, which doesn’t have any fiduciary responsibility,” the spokesperson said. “When the campaign files the quarterly reports the treasurer must choose a category to list his expenditures, so they chose ‘legal & strategic advising.’ He’s a strategic advisor, not a lawyer.”
However, the New York City West Side Democrats’ officers page, which says Gottheim serves as treasurer, notes the congressman’s district director has been “Counsel for Nadler for Congress, handling all campaign finances & compliance issues w/ the FEC” since 1997.
Nadler’s campaign did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s follow-up questions.
Caitlin Sutherland, the 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,’ yet he can’t even ensure that his top staffer is in compliance with simple House ethics rules.”
“It is absolutely against the law to be compensated for campaign work that involves fiduciary duties, and accordingly, we will look into filing a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics,” Sutherland continued.
A similar situation arose in 2017 regarding the late Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., when an ethics complaint was filed against the congressman and his chief of staff over the chief’s dual roles in Lewis’ official office and as his campaign treasurer.
Nadler has been praised highly by party leadership in his tenure, with then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., calling him a “gifted constitutional scholar” and “the conscience of the House.”
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Due to the shrinking of the New York delegation, the Empire State Democrat finds himself in a member-on-member contest with House Oversight Committee chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., for the state’s new 12th district.
Nadler is already headed to the general election this November as the candidate for the Working Families Party, so, even if Maloney wins the Democratic nomination, she’ll have to face down the House Judiciary Committee chairman again.