The New Jersey delegation clearly likes to travel . . . on someone else’s tab. Sen. Bob Menendez (D., N.J.) is reportedly under grand jury investigation for those trips to the Dominican Republic. WIth or without prostitutes, as we discussed earlier, the trips are highly problematic. Now, there is an ethics investigation of Rep. Robert Andrews (D-N.J.) who once vowed to “drain the swamp” of corruption in the House. It appears that Andrews needed to get out of the swamp for expensive trips that were allegedly paid for by campaign funds.
In 2012, the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) charged Andrews with tapping tens of thousands of dollars in campaign funds to pay for a 2011 trip to a wedding in Scotland and multiple trips to Los Angeles with his daughters. Andrews adopted the same cynical excuse by other swamp dwellers and said that the trips were political because the groom and his daughter were volunteer campaign aides. It is the type of argument that is too clever by half and most of us would be ashamed to even make in defense of raiding a campaign for personal purposes.
As we have been discussing, former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) has pleaded guilty to using $750,000 in campaign funds to pay for living expenses. Jackson received a sentence of 46 to 57 months in prison.
Andrews is also accused of using more than $10,000 to host a party at his home celebrating his congressional service and his daughter’s graduation. That is on top of his $9000 trip to Scotland. His campaign also gave a $12,500 donation to a local theater gala, where his daughter was performing at the time. I am not sure what irritates me the most: Andrews’ using the money like a personal piggy bank or his insulting rationalizations for such corruption.
True to swamp form, Andrews repeated the equally time-worn defense that the charges by the bipartisan committee were “politically motivated.” Unless these allegations are entirely untrue and no campaign funds were used, Andrews should resign. If not, he should be sanctioned by the House and put under criminal investigation. The latter action is undermined by the still permissive rules on campaign fund use — a law filled with holes knowingly maintained by the members of Congress for themselves. However, there appears to be enough here that, if proven, could be used as the basis for a criminal investigation.
He is a lawyer and graduated from Cornell Law School. On his website, Andrews states that he has worked to “prevent wasting millions of taxpayer dollars” in dollars. In his defense, he did not promise not to waste campaign dollars on personal pleasures and distractions.
Source: The Hill