Illinois Democrat Rep. Luis Gutierrez has cut ties to a Chicago lobbyist after reports that the lobbyist had shelled out more than a half million dollars to work in his congressional office over the past decade.
Doug Scofield, a lobbyist and Gutierrez’s former chief of staff, was hired in 2003 to train the lawmaker's staff members and draft and review press releases. In addition, Scofield helped “publicize programs and activities” of Gutierrez, according to USA Today
But Scofield was not counted as part of the congressman's staff and also worked as a lobbyist and communications consultant for several organizations in Chicago at the same time.
Gutierrez insisted through a spokesman that there had been nothing improper with relationship and that Scofield's service has been "valuable to the staff."
The spokesman added that Scofield was let go 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," his spokesman said.
Gutierrez, the first Latino to be elected to Congress from the Midwest, has been in office since 1993. He is the longest serving member of the Illinois House delegation.
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