Washington- Fletcher-Rowley-Chao-Riddle, Inc. (FRCR), a Democrat political consulting firm advising Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN), is in the middle of an ethics scandal involving another client, Florida Rep. Tim Mahoney (D-FL). In Mahoney’s attempt to hide his affair with Patricia Allen, a former legislative and campaign employee, the congressman paid over $120,000 in hush money. Additionally, as part of a settlement for a lawsuit filed by Allen against Mahoney, the Congressman ensured his former mistress a position with FRCR that would pay at least $50,000 per year.
With the firm wrapped in scandal, why hasn’t Bart Gordon fired his consultant?
According to ABC News, who broke the story on Monday:
“The agreement between the Congressman and Allen, reportedly promises her a job for two years at Fletcher Rowley Chao Riddle or another company, beginning January 2009. Fletcher Rowley, a Nashville-based political consulting firm that offers ‘crisis management and creative strategy,’ lists Mahoney's 2006 election victory as one of its "success stories," according to its website.”
“According to people briefed on the settlement Allen was promised at least $50,000 a year or other employment if the Fletcher Rowley job fell through.” (ABC News, 10/13/08)
This leads observers to note that FRCR appears to have been a willing accomplice in Mahoney’s cover-up. More importantly, FRCR’s alleged role in the cover-up means that Mahoney could have illegally paid campaign money to his consultant, who could have used the cover Allen’s salary at the firm as part of an ongoing hush money scheme. Mahoney is already under FBI investigation for his actions, including the possibility that he used campaign funds to cover up the scandal.
“With his consultant and colleague embroiled in a front-page ethics scandal, Bart Gordon’s failure to distance himself from these shocking allegations speaks volumes about his character,” said NRCC spokesman Brendan Buck. “Unless Gordon condones these reprehensible actions by his strategist and his fellow congressman, he should immediately end his relationship with FRCR and denounce these immoral and potentially illegal practices.”
For the record, FRCR has denied any knowledge of or involvement in Mahoney's alleged deal.