Camden County Congressman Rob Andrews Investigated by 60 Minutes

They had some questions about a $16,000 family trip to Scotland he financed with PAC money.

New Jersey Rep Rob Andrews

Camden County Congressman Rob Andrews is having a bad couple of months. In late August, the House Ethics committee announced it was extending its investigation into Andrews campaign funds. In September, he was named one of the most corrupt members of Congress. And last night the congressman got the full 60 Minutes treatment.

The powerful CBS news magazine show asked for an interview with the veteran democratic Congressman. When he didn’t respond, correspondent Steve Kroft showed up at a committee hearing and waited in the hallway with a camera.


Kroft asked Andrews about $16,000 the Congressman spent to fly his family to Scotland to attend the wedding of a friend, who he was allegedly thinking of hiring.

Andrews told Kroft, “I followed the rules, met the standards” and then said he couldn’t say anything more because the Ethics Committee is conducting an investigation and “my obligation is not to talk about a pending matter.” When Kroft told the Congressman that he had checked with the Ethics Committee and they were fine with him answering questions, Andrews passed anyway, explaining that that is not his understanding of the rule.

The focus of the 60 Minutes report is a loophole in campaign fundraising that allows House representatives to take money from donors looking for influence and spend it on themselves and, in Andrews's case, his family.

There are strict rules that prevent Congressman from using money that is donated to their campaign fund for anything but a campaign. But Andrews used money from his Leadership Political Action Committees. The PACS came into existence after the strict campaign rules were enacted, so they are exempt. Steve Kroft described the PACs as “slush funds.” Almost every member of the House uses a leadership PAC to pay expenses and live a better lifestyle. The real question is what they do for that money.

When Kroft asked Andrews about the legal slush funds, he answered, “I think we should take a look at what they can and can’t be used for. I’d be in favor of that.” In his report, Kroft pointed out that every representative says something to that effect, and yet nothing is ever done.

Andrews's family trip across the pond is not the only potential ethical violation the Ethics Committee is investigating. Andrews's campaign shelled out $10,000 for a celebration of his 20th anniversary in Congress, which doubled as his daughter’s high-school graduation party. And Andrew’s campaign has donated more than $100,000 to The Walnut Street Theater, where his daughter performs as an actress.

It's for those and other questionable uses of campaign funds that Citizen’s for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington named Rob Andrews one of the Congress's most corrupt members.

So what will happen to him? Probably nothing. It is difficult for members to discipline one of their own for something they all do. If they weren’t able to throw Charlie Rangel out of Congress, nobody’s getting the boot.

There is little to no chance that Andrews will lose the seat he has held since 1990 in the 2014 midterm election. In 2012, he won the seat with over 68 percent of the vote, and that was an off year.

There is also the important point that Andrews may have technically not done anything illegal, or even unethical by Congress’s low standards. The rules have been fixed to assure the legality. As they said in the 60 Minutes report, the real scandal in Washington isn’t what’s illegal, but what’s legal.

  • Matthew Harris for Congress

    Congressman Andrews’s actions exemplify why people do not trust elected officials. They give their hard earned money based on the belief that it will be used for the allocated purpose. It doesn’t matter whether the money is allocated for a re-election campaign or for the government to provide services. When officials misuse the money, it violates the sacred trust between themselves and the people.



    This is why I am challenging Congressman Andrews in next year’s Democratic Primary. I think South Jersey needs a change. We need a new generation of leaders with innovative ideas that will make our communities and Nation better.
    For more information on my campaign, check out: http://www.matthewharrisforcongress.com

    MATTHEW HARRIS
    Runnemede

  • Meterhead

    Nice to see he is getting a primary challenge. He deserves one.

  • pietrof

    Larry Mendte missed the passage about casting stones. Maybe you should sit this one out.

  • bknh

    All these thieves should be put behind bars. They know how to manulipate the system through their own bill passage. It may be legal for now but it needs to be changed. We need a total house and senate house cleaning. However, it will never happen. They have no conscience. Your thoughts!!!!

  • Jane Yavis

    Rob Andrews is Every Republican’s Favorite Congressman, and will run un-opposed again. – Anybody know what new jobs the Congressman has brought to his District in the last 20 years??? Don’t say Campbell’s,,,,because every time they get Millions and free press to “Add on” to their Corporate center, once it’s finished, the layoffs start again. Nothing but empty “Former Businesses” up and down the business corridors of Camden County.

  • Rick

    I graduated from Rutgers Camden Law School a few years back. Andrew’s wife, Camille, is a “professor” at the school. I put quotes around that because she rarely taught, and when she did, she wasn’t up to the standards of a community college.

    Everyone in the school would talk about how she had the job only because of his pull in the county as well. The rich get richer…

  • David Evan

    If you need something from Andrews you won’t get it unless you contribute. That’s been my experience in seeking an audience with the man.

  • Andy B

    I knew Rob personally many years ago when he was Camden County Executive. This story is making me believe in term limits for Congress. What I can tell you is that in 1991 when Clinton was running for office Andrews chaired his N campaign. Andres voted against Clinton’s first budget because it raised taxes on people who earned less that 250,000 a year which was a core campaign promise. Here is a man with such principles that he dissed a new president he actively campaigned for while he was a freshman. This saddens me greatly.