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Rep. Luis Gutierrez cuts ties with Chicago lobbyist after news report

U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.)

U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.)

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U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) has cut his ties to a Chicago lobbyist after a newspaper report revealed the lobbyist had paid more than $500,000 over the past 10 years to work in his congressional office.

Doug Scofield, a lobbyist and Gutierrez’s former chief of staff, was hired in 2003 to train staff, review and help draft news releases and help “publicize programs and activities” of the congressman, USA Today reported.

Scofield was paid $6,000 a month for “training,” though he wasn’t counted as part of the congressman’s staff. At the same time, he was working as a lobbyist and communications consultant for Chicago organizations, some of which had received assistance from Gutierrez.

Gutierrez’s firing of Scofield came after the 11-term representative had told the newspaper there was nothing wrong with the relationship, which he said was approved by the House Administration Committee. Since then, Gutierrez said he requested a meeting with the committee, which oversees operations of congressional offices, to review the contract.

Douglas Rivlin, a Gutierrez spokesman, said the House had reviewed and approved the contract and that Gutierrez “believes his service has been valuable to the staff and has contributed to his efforts on behalf of the 4th District.”

“Questions have recently been raised about the scope of the contract,” Rivlin said. “As soon as these questions were raised, Congressman Gutierrez asked that his staff review the contract again with staff of the House Administration Committee. While Congressman Gutierrez believes that Doug Scofield provides an appropriate service to the office, to avoid any question or any possible appearance of any conflict or work outside the scope of the agreement, Congressman Gutierrez will not continue the contract. Congressman Gutierrez is committed to leaving no question at all about whether he is following both the letter and intent of all House rules and believes not continuing this contract is the best way to move forward without any concerns or doubts of any kind.”

Rivlin and Gutierrez both had said a week ago that Scofield had never been engaged in lobbying Gutierrez for assistance on behalf of his clients.

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