Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) on Thursday dropped out of the race to lead the House Democratic Caucus and faced questions about her political future following her husband’s indictment on federal criminal charges.
It’s just the latest scandal to hit Capitol Hill. Two indicted members — Republican Reps. Chris Collins of New York and Duncan Hunter of California — won reelection on Tuesday, despite allegations against them, as did Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), who was acquitted of bribery and corruption charges earlier this year.
James Sullivan, Sanchez’s husband, was charged with misusing federal funds to cover personal expenses. Those alleged improper expenses include two trips with Sanchez to the Kentucky Derby, as well as a trip to Key West, Florida.
Roll Call reports:
“While I will not continue to serve in an official leadership position next year, I look forward to continuing my service to the people of California’s 38th District and doing the important work of the Committee on Ways and Means,” she wrote in a letter informing her colleagues of her decision to withdraw.
“Our new caucus chair can count on my full support and I intend to remain a resource for new and returning members.”
For months Sánchez and California Rep. Barbara Lee had been the only two candidates running for caucus chair. The two had previously run against each other for caucus vice chair in 2016, a race that Sánchez won by two votes.
CBS News reports:
According to a government release, the U.S. attorney alleges that the defendants conspired to misuse an account that held funds provided by federal grants to the Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Corporation (CMEEC), a public corporation that allows municipal electric utilities in Connecticut to provide electricity.
“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,” U.S. Attorney John Durham said in the press release.