Providing legal services to the congressman’s campaign and leadership PAC violates federal law, a watchdog claimed in an ethics complaint acquired by the Daily Caller News Foundation on Monday. The claim was made by a top staff member of Democratic New York Rep. Jerry Nadler.
Robert Gottheim, the district director for Nadler’s office, made enough money to be considered a senior worker between 2019 and 2021. A watchdog group called Americans for Public Trust claimed in a complaint to the Office of Congressional Ethics that Gottheim’s payment for legal services by Nadler’s campaign and PAC is unlawful because senior staff are prohibited from being paid through a role involving a fiduciary relationship, including the practice of law (OCE).
Senior staff, as defined by the House Committee on Ethics, are members of Congress who made more than $132,000 in 2021 and $135,000 in 2022. Federal law prohibits senior personnel from receiving compensation for serving on a board or as an officer of a nonprofit, political campaign, or governmental body.
As Nadler’s district director, Gottheim made over $140,000 in 2019, $165,000 in 2020, and over $180,000 in 2021, according to House disbursements. In addition, according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) records, he received approximately $81,000 from Nadler’s campaign between 2019 and 2021 for legal and political consulting as well as legal and strategic counseling.
According to documents, Gottheim received another $940 from Jerry’s PAC, Nadler’s leadership committee, in 2019 for legal and political consulting.
According to public records, Gottheim is a licensed attorney in New York State. He also represents the West Side Democrats, a New York City-based organization that backs Nadler, in all legal matters pertaining to campaign financing and FEC compliance.