U.S. Representative Steve Cohen (D-Memphis) filed an official complaint with the House Ethics Committee saying his longtime aide Randy Wade used his government title for a political campaign.
In a phone conversation with FOX13 News, Wade said he thought the world of Congressman Cohen, but he says he's shocked to see this side of the congressman.
Wade said had no idea Rep. Cohen filed an ethics complaint against him.
Congressman Cohen complaint to House Ethics Committee: http://content.foxtvmedia.com/whbq/cohencomplainttoethicscommittee.PDF
Committee responses to Congressman Cohen, Randy Wade: http://content.foxtvmedia.com/whbq/committeeresponsetocohen.PDF
This complaint stems from a Democratic legislative primary where Wade endorsed Tennessee State Rep. G.A. Hardaway (D-Memphis). Rep. Cohen was supporting the other candidate.
Rep. Hardaway's campaign used a quote from Wade in a campaign mailer. It read, "If there is something that needs to be taken care of on the state level, I call Rep. G.A. Hardaway. He's the go-to guy for the congressman's office." It was signed: Randy Wade, District Director for Congressman Steve Cohen.
Congressman Cohen believes that statement broke the rules and he sent this complaint letter to the House Ethics committee on July 31, 2012.
According to House rules, congressional staffers are not allowed to use official resources or official titles for campaign work. The committee wrapped up its investigation July 1. It was supposed to be kept private but Congressman Cohen released all the documents related to the case Monday afternoon after Wade went public with the complaint.
"For whatever reason Mr. Wade chose to make these revelations which were otherwise private, public," Rep. Cohen said. "I regret that he did so because he's damaged his character and damaged some of the work that took place in this office."
The House Ethics Committee's final letter doesn't outright say Wade violated the rules.
"Mr. Wade's conduct may have violated certain House rules and a law applicable to employees of the house," the letter said.
The only action the committee took was sending a letter to him. That letter was Wade's first indication that there was an ethics investigation.
He told FOX13 News Congressman Cohen never said he referred this situation to the House Ethics Committee and says he was never interviewed from anyone from the House Ethics Committee. Wade stressed he did nothing wrong and added couldn't control what the Hardaway campaign put out.
Wade left Congressman Cohen's office in February. He's planning a news conference to address this issue Tuesday morning.
WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
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