It has been widely alleged that Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez has been involved in an intimate relationship with her former military escort and current homeland security and defense lobbyist, John (Jack) P. Einwechter, currently “Of Counsel” at the DC law firm of Greenberg Traurig. So in the name of clearing the issue up for the many readers who come to the blog searching for the “Loretta Sanchez scandal,” I thought that I would get to the bottom of it as best as I could with my research and from information from a source close to the Einwechter family, especially since there is an appearance of a conflict of interest with this particular relationship as it relates to the committees Rep. Sanchez serves on.
In January of 2004, Stephen Brixey sued Loretta Sanchez for divorce citing “irreconcilable differences.” Oddly enough for the Congresswoman’s 2003 Holiday card, Brixey appeared with her and the cat, Gretzky, flexing their biceps. However, as the Orange County Register article covering the divorce explained, “Court filings, which gave no description of specific problems, said the couple have [sic] been separated since Dec. 30. It also noted that BRIXEY had been living in San Diego County for at least three months before the Jan. 15 filing. BRIXEY and SANCHEZ appeared together on her holiday greeting card in December.”
On May 10, 2005, Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez wrote a letter to the Clerk of the House of Representatives indicating that she had legally separated from her husband, Stephen Brixey on October 1, 2003, which culminated in an issuance of a divorce decree on October 18, 2004 in describing her financial disclosures. On November 24, 2003, she claimed an expense for her annual holiday cards with a $3,329 receipt from One Image Photography in Irvine, California, in addition to a December 11, 2003 holiday card direct mailing receipt of $140,574 from Kennedy Communications for this very card that pictured the man she was legally separated from. While her marriage was crumbling, Congresswoman Sanchez chose to deceive her supporters with this costly, “happy couple” card.
A source close to the Einwechter family has communicated to me that Rep. Loretta Sanchez used her position of “public power and trust to pursue a sexual relationship with a married Army officer assigned to escort her on tax-funded official overseas travel beginning in 2003.” While this might not be perceived as an issue, Congresswoman Sanchez was still married at the time, as was John P. Einwechter. According to the Uniform Code of Military Justice Article 134, adultery is unacceptable conduct.
With all of the violations that one could commit in the armed forces, adultery is probably not a highly prosecutable offense, especially since the victimized spouse would have to testify against the offending partner. One can surmise that the military courts do not want to be backlogged with adultery cases, but what makes this case particularly interesting, as described by my source close to the Einwechter family is that Congresswoman Sanchez is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, which has a critical oversight role of the Department of Defense and the US armed forces. Furthermore, the UCMJ states that in determining if adulterous acts are prejudicial to good order “The co-actor’s marital status, military rank, grade, and position, or relationship to the armed forces” can be considered. Serving on the House Armed Services Committee certainly connects Congresswoman Sanchez to the armed forces.
Additionally, at the time this relationship commenced between Congresswoman Sanchez and John P. Einwechter, my source says that he was still in the Army serving as a legislative counsel and later a prosecutor in the Office of Military Commissions while still married to his wife Rebecca with whom he has eight children. As a prosecutor, he was tasked with advising military justice matters, and as such, he should have been fully aware of the Article 134 provisions. To add fuel to the fire, John P. Einwechter earned his bachelor’s degree from Cedarville University, a small Baptist college in Ohio. My source also reveals that Einwechter and his wife appeared to be a committed “Christian” family.
By 2005 according to John P. Einwechter’s biography on the Greenberg Traurig website, he had left the Army as a prosecutor and began working at his current law firm. According to the FEC, Einwechter gave Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez $1000 in campaign contributions in 2005, split in $500 increments. His leaving the military made it less likely that anyone would look at his personal relationship with Sanchez, except for one minor thing. He chose to focus his practice on Defense and Homeland Security issues, and Congresswoman Sanchez sits on both the House Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees. Lobbying can become easier when one’s significant other or spouse sits on the committees that his clients seek to influence.
Since 2005, according the lobbying profile database at OpenSecrets.org, Einwechter has represented Heckler and Koch. Heckler and Koch manufactures firearms that are used by the Department of Homeland Security, again a government entity over which Congresswoman Sanchez has critical oversight. Beginning in 2008, according to the same lobbying profile database, Einwechter has also represented L1 Identity Solutions, which provides face, palm, and iris recognition products used by the Department of Homeland Security. L1 Identity Solutions also provides products to help implement the Real ID Act. The CEO of L1 Identity Solutions is Robert La Penta, who co-founded L3 Communications, a company that makes surveillance and reconnaissance equipment for the Department of Defense and Departments of Homeland Security. L3 Communications was the third top contributor to Loretta Sanchez’s campaign committee in the last election cycle.
The Protective Group is another one of John P. Einwechter’s clients who he has represented since 2006. This company has been awarded contracts in the millions of dollars for armor, aircraft and airframe structural components, and clothing to the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Customs Service, and Defense Logistics Agency. Again, the buyers of goods from The Protective Group fall under the oversight of Congresswoman Sanchez in her role on both the House Armed Services and House Homeland Security Committee.
According to records from The Sunlight Foundation in September of 2007, Einwechter in his capacity as a lobbyist at Greenberg Traurig arranged a meeting with Congresswoman Sanchez on behalf of his client, the Kurdistan Regional Government.
How much Einwechter’s lobbying influences Representative Sanchez is not easy to determine, but having an intimate relationship with a congressional member who sits on two committees related to his work can create the appearance of collusion. In California, when it was revealed that former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez’s wife Maria was lobbying on behalf of the hospital industry, the California Nurses Association asked that he recuse himself from the health care debate because of the appearance of a conflict of interest. If, in fact, Congresswoman Sanchez and Jack Einwechter are involved in a close intimate relationship, could we ask her to recuse herself from anything related to his lobbying on behalf of clients seeking to do business with the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense? I think that it is a reasonable question, especially in a political climate where Sanchez has already been scrutinized because of her ethics in regard to personnel matters and in relation to the thousands of dollars she has accepted from the PMA Group.
In fairness to Congresswoman Sanchez, I have given her office an opportunity to comment on these allegations. She has a history of dodging questions, as evidenced by the time TMZ approached her asking about donations from Hugh Hefner. Additionally, her office did not release a statement about the Caroline Valdez embezzlement case. As in other instances, her office has not returned the calls of bloggers and the requests of a reporter with a news bureau in Dallas regarding this matter. Noted British historian, C. Northcote Parkinson once said, “Delay is the deadliest form of denial.” I believe that may be playing out in this case.
Photo Credit: 2003 Sanchez Holiday Card by One Image Photography & Kennedy Communications, Small Photo taken of Rep. Sanchez and military escort in civilian clothes on an Army Base in Germany circa 2003 (photo has since been removed from the Congresswoman’s website)