Democrat investigating Washington Commanders faces bribery accusations

A top Democrat who is leading a congressional investigation into the Washington Commanders football team is being accused of illegally fundraising off of the probe.  

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) is facing an ethics complaint after suddenly canceling a fundraiser with two lobbyists seeking to have the Commanders’ controversial owner ousted, Fox News reported.

Democrat accused of bribery

Two wealthy lobbyists, Mike and Tom Manatos, have long campaigned against Commanders owner Dan Snyder.

Earlier this year, the brothers invited donors to a May fundraiser with Krishnamoorthi that described him as “the one person in Washington who may have found a path to getting rid of Snyder.”

After the invite brought negative attention to Krishnamoorthi, the congressman canceled the event and denied any knowledge of the invitation.

“We did not authorize any correspondence or outreach conducted for this general meet and greet event for Raja’s re-election campaign,” a campaign spokesperson said.

Weeks before the fundraiser, the lawmaker sent a lengthy complaint to the Federal Trade Commission accusing Snyder and the Commanders, formerly known as the Washington Redskins, of defrauding customers and the NFL.

Quid pro quo?

The House Oversight Committee, on which Krishnamoorthi sits, is probing the Commanders’ workplace culture.

Tom Jones, of the watchdog group American Accountability Foundation, alleged that the lawmaker violated federal bribery laws in a “corrupt quid pro quo.”

“It’s clear that Rep. Krishnamoorthi, members of his staff and perhaps others, violated House ethics rules and the federal bribery statute by raising — and agreeing to accept — campaign donations in exchange for using the power of the Oversight Committee to investigate and permanently damage the team formerly known as the Washington Redskins at the behest of wealthy lobbyists with an ax to grind against their local sports franchise,” said Jones.

The language in the invite “is evidence of a corrupt quid pro quo to cause damage to the team and its leadership,” Jones said.

“By canceling the event, Rep. Krishnamoorthi not only revealed his guilty conscience but also underscored the scope of his violation of both House and federal statutes,” Jones said.

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