Linda Sanchez withdraws bid to become chair of House Democratic Caucus after husband indicted on theft of public funds

Scandal has struck the leadership of the House Democrats as they prepare to take over that body. Representative Linda Sanchez, just re-elected to her ninth term in Congress representing a heavily Hispanic district in Orange County, California, was hoping to become the fourth-ranking Democrat in the House. But those plans have crashed and burned as her husband has been indicted for stealing public funds. Mike Lillis of The Hill reports:

The U.S. attorney’s office in Connecticut announced that a grand jury returned two indictments against five people for misusing taxpayer funds in connection with the Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Corporation (CMEEC), an electric utilities co-op. One of those charged is James Sullivan, Sanchez’s husband.

Hours earlier, Sanchez, the vice chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, had withdrawn her bid to replace outgoing Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) as chairman of the caucus next year. She cited “an unexpected family matter.

Later in the day she issued a clarifying statement.

”Earlier today I learned that my husband is facing charges in Connecticut,” she said. “After careful consideration of the time and energy being in leadership demands, I have decided that my focus now needs to be on my son, my family, and my constituents in California."

The House Democrats are left with two other candidates for the chairmanship, both of them African-Americans: Rep. Barbara Lee of Berkeley and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, of Brooklyn and Queens. Lee inherited her seat in Congress from Rep. “Red Ron” Dellums, perhaps the farthest left member of Congress ever, for whom she worked as an aide for many years. Hakeem, formerly a corporate lawyer, won his seat representing Bedford-Stuyvesant and other heavily minority areas, after the retirement of veteran congressman Edolphus Towns. Hakeem raised large amounts of money from Wall Street and out-of-state donors, and beat out a rival who was regarded as anti-Semitic by much of the New York Democrat establishment.

As for Sanchez’s husband James Sullivan, the details of the indictment reveal what appears to be a case of taking money belonging to taxpayers for personal luxuries:

The indictments include charges that Sullivan and the others spent $800,000 on costly trips, including excursions to the Kentucky Derby and a West Virginia golf resort, using excess CMEEC revenues that should have been returned to the Connecticut towns participating in the co-op.

“CMEEC has received millions of dollars in grants from the U.S. Department of Energy,” U.S. Attorney John Durham said in a statement. 

“Instead of protecting these funds and returning excess revenue to member towns and ratepayers, these defendants are alleged to have used the CMEEC Margin Account as a secret slush fund to pay for lavish junkets for themselves and their family and friends, as well as for other inappropriate expenses.” 

Was Sanchez one of the family members who enjoyed junkets and other luxuries? Would the Democrat-dominated House care?

We’ll keep our eyes on this story because the mainstream media will have very little interest in it, since Trump and Republicans can’t be blamed.

photo credit: cropped from official portrait

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