The husband of Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) was indicted by federal authorities on Thursday on charges related to the theft of public funds.…
The husband of Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) was indicted by federal authorities on Thursday on charges related to the theft of public funds.
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Hours earlier, Sanchez, the vice chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, had withdrawn her bid to replace outgoing Rep.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.”
Sanchez’s withdrawal from the leadership contest leaves two candidates vying for the chairmanship: Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.).
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.”
Sullivan, according to the Justice Department, chaired the CMEEC Board of Directors until late 2015.