Op-Ed by Nicole Malliotakis

We’re all familiar with the phrase “follow the money” which was popularized by “All the President’s Men,” the 1976 film on the Watergate break-in and the subsequent downfall of President Nixon. Now, more than four decades later, the phrase still holds true, though this time it applies to Members of Congress and not the resident of the White House.

With his 3-plus years of anti-Trump rhetoric, and a congressional district that contains Hollywood, Congressman Adam Schiff has managed to raise in excess of $4 million since the start of 2019 and, with nearly a year remaining, he is on target to surpass the more than $6 million he raised for his 2018 reelection campaign. Raising such a large war chest, one might presume that Congressman Schiff has been facing tough challenges from Republican opponents. Actually it’s just the opposite; in the last four general elections he’s won his race with nearly 80% of the vote. While, historically, he has spent less than $1 million per race on communicating with his voters and constituents. So where is Adam Schiff’s newfound money going?

Federal Election Commission reports show that Congressman Schiff has found a multitude of ways to spend his impressive haul; including a 3-day period in mid-June where his campaign committee issued a series of $2,000 checks to 44 Members of Congress, almost all of which are Democrats in their freshman term having been elected to Congress in 2018.

Among those from New York are Rep. Anthony Brindisi and Rep. Antonio Delgado, both from upstate, and Rep. Max Rose, who is my opponent in New York’s 11th Congressional District in Staten Island and South Brooklyn.

It’s not unusual for Members of Congress to share their fundraising bounty with like-minded colleagues in tough races. But, in 2019, things are different and are amplified by Rep. Schiff’s over six-fold increase in donations in one election cycle. The difference this year is the impeachment frenzy that grips Washington and the role Rep. Schiff plays in the process. Impeachment is clearly very profitable for Congressman Schiff.

You see, Adam Schiff’s role in the impeachment process is that of a prosecutor and the House of Representatives is basically a grand jury that will decide whether or not there are grounds to proceed with a Senate trial of President Trump.

To put it simply, if a local District Attorney was caught transferring money to members of the grand jury pool months before they were empanelled, the D.A. would be disgraced, out of a job, and probably looking at a stiff prison sentence.

Now, normally a candidate’s values and policies drive donations, but when the appearance of impropriety is staring you right in the face you have to ask what is driving this massive increase in donations to Schiff and his massive number of transfers-out. What makes this scenario all the more disturbing is the fact the money donated appears to only be a down payment on the money that could potentially flow to these 44 Democrats from the same Hollywood crowd and deep pocketed liberals who have catapulted Schiff to become one of the top 5 fundraisers in the House.

It’s become incumbent for fair-minded Americans to call on every House Democrat who has received contributions from Rep. Schiff to immediately return the donation(s) or, if they keep the funds, to pledge to abstain from any future votes on impeachment.

Last week, I called on my opponent, Rep. Max Rose, to immediately return the $2,000 he received. His silence on the topic has been deafening.

The fact of the matter is, there are 43 other Members of Congress in the exact same position, 43 elected officials who need to be called-out for accepting these funds and 43 public servants who will undoubtedly turn a deaf-ear to constituents who call for the return of these “donations.”

Its cynical displays like this that disgust fair minded people. It’s another example as to why Congress is viewed so unfavorably.

It’s time the American people set the record straight and send a strong message to the House Democrats that hypocrisy won’t sell well in an election year.