Democratic representative Linda Sanchez (Calif.) has pulled out of the race to head the House Democratic Caucus after her husband was indicted on federal criminal charges.
Sanchez's husband, James Sullivan, allegedly misused federal funds for the likes of expensing trips to the Kentucky Derby and to Key West, Fla., Politico reports.
"Earlier today, I learned that my husband is facing charges in Connecticut," Sanchez said yesterday. "After careful consideration of the time and energy being in leadership demands, I have decided that my focus now needs to be on my son, my family, and my constituents in California."
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Sanchez's husband was one of five individuals with ties to a Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Corporation that steered more than $800,000 in funds to personal trips without the board voting or approval from member towns, which is required.
The money was used for the personal trips, private airfare, sporting event tickets, gifts, golf fees, lavish hotel accommodations, and meals.
A second indictment alleged that Sanchez's husband marked personal expenses on his corporate expense reports that were ultimately approved by Drew Rankin, another individual who is listed in the first indictment.
For the personal expenses, Sullivan billed the corporation for travel that included trips for his family to the Kentucky Derby between 2013 and 2015. That indictment additionally said that Sullivan billed for airfare for Rep. Sanchez to Key West in late 2014, Roll Call reports.
"CMEEC has received millions of dollars in grants from the U.S. Department of Energy," U.S. Attorney John H. Durham said on the matter. "Instead of protecting these funds and returning excess revenue to member towns and ratepayers, these defendants are alleged to have used the CMEEC Margin Account as a secret slush fund to pay for lavish junkets for themselves and their family and friends, as well as for other inappropriate expenses."