An ethics complaint alleges that a top aide to Democratic New York Rep. Jerry Nadler violated federal law by providing legal services to the congressman’s campaign and leadership PAC.
Robert Gottheim, Nadler’s district director, made hundreds of thousands as a “senior worker” between 2019 and 2021. Gottheim has also been paid for legal services by Nadler’s campaign and PAC, which is prohibited because the top staff is barred from being paid through a “fiduciary relationship, including the profession of law,” a watchdog organization said (OCE).
Caitlin Sutherland, executive director of Americans for Public Trust, told the DCNF that senior staffers could not be compensated as campaign attorneys. Nadler’s crew did it.
Senior staff refers to congressional staffers who earned over $132,000 in 2021 and $135,000 in 2022. Federal law prohibits senior personnel from being paid as board members or officers of nonprofits, campaigns, or government agencies.
Gottheim received $140,000 in 2019, $165,000 in 2020, and almost $180,000 in 2021, as Nadler’s district director. Between 2019 and 2021, he earned $81,000 from Nadler’s campaign for “legal and political consultancy” and “legal and strategic advising,” FEC records reveal.
Jerry’s PAC, Nadler’s leadership committee, paid Gottheim $940 in 2019 for “legal and political counseling.”
The DCNF didn’t hear back from Nadler’s campaign or office. Gottheim is just a campaign adviser, according to a campaign official.
When the campaign files quarterly reports, the treasurer must list his spending, so they chose ‘legal & strategic advising. Nadler’s representative stated he’s a strategic advisor, not a lawyer.
Sutherland told the DCNF it’s “laughable” for his campaign to call Gottheim a “campaign adviser” when federal records show he’s been paid dozens of times for legal consulting for Nadler.
Gottheim is a registered New York attorney. He manages “all campaign funds & FEC compliance concerns” for Nadler’s New York City-based West Side Democrats.
Americans for Public Trust says this highlights Gottheim’s “impermissible involvement” in Nadler’s campaign.
Americans for Public Trust complained that House staff standards protect the public trust. Mr. Gottheim’s outside fiduciary work has undermined trust. It’s alarming that his fiduciary activity is intertwined with New York City politics. Nadler is in a heated primary against Carolyn Maloney. Tuesday’s vote.
Gottheim didn’t comment.
OCE was silent.