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South Cook News

Friday, February 28, 2020

Lipinski challenger Newman caught in series of questionable claims, allegations


By W.J. Kennedy | Feb 4, 2020

Illinois' Third Congressional District candidate Marie Newman (D-Chicago Ridge)

A “False” rating from the Better Government Association (BGA) attached to a claim by Marie Newman (D-Chicago Ridge) marks one in a series of questionable claims by the candidate in a Democratic primary rematch with incumbent Congressman Dan Lipinski (D-Western Springs) in Illinois' Third Congressional District.

Other hiccups include a claim that she worked for pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies and hospitals, when no such work history appears on Newman's resume. She claims to have no knowledge of Toni Preckwinkle’s former chief of staff John Keller getting the ax in part over allegations of sexual harassment while volunteering on her own 2018 primary try against Lipinski. And she recently accused Lipinski, first sworn-in in 2005, of being part of machine-style politics when a third candidate in the field, Rush Darwish (D-Oak Lawn), says her campaign is the one guilty of bullying tactics.

In a Jan. 19 article published in the Chicago Sun-Times, a reporter with BGA’s investigative team wrote that Newman said that Lipinski had a part in lifting a law that restricted the idling time of trains.

U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Western Springs)

“Right now, it stops first responders from getting to where they need to go, so that’s a big problem,” Newman said, referring to the change in the law. “People die because of it. What goes out in terms of toxic emissions into our environment is horrifying.”

But after investigating, the BGA determined that Lipinski “wasn’t involved in any way” with removing the idling restrictions. The Newman campaign later admitted the allegations were untrue, the story said.

BGA ended the story with, “We rate her claim False.”

Then in a January 23 appearance on "The Ben Joravsky Show," Newman prefaced some remarks about health care, saying that she had worked for pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies and for hospitals. But the resume posted on her Facebook page makes no mention of any work in the health care industry. Her resume says: “I am a small businesswoman, entrepreneur, national nonprofit executive, author and rights advocate.” 

An email to her campaign asking for the names of the companies and the hospitals was not returned.

In November 2018, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle fired her chief of staff John Keller in part over sexual harassment allegations leveled against him during the time he volunteered for the Newman primary campaign that year. Newman told the Chicago Tribune that “she had not heard about any Keller incident during her campaign or she would have immediately taken action.”

Finally, at a January 22 meeting with the Sun-Times Editorial Board, Newman accused Lipinski of being part of Illinois' Democratic machine. She also called herself a reformer. At the same meeting, a third candidate, Rush Darwish, said that he’s being called daily by Newman supporters, even high-profile ones he would not name.

“A lot of people were saying, ‘Why are you [running]? Just let it be a rematch,’” Darwish was quoted as saying. “And I took a lot of heat. Until now, I take a lot of heat. With all due respect, Marie supporters, they’re hitting me up daily: ‘drop out, drop out, drop out.’”

A recent poll has Lipinski up by 22 points.

The Third District includes the west and southwest suburbs of Chicago as far as the DuPage County border, as well as a portion of the Southwest Side of the city of Chicago. The primary is on March 17.

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