Brooklyn

Democrat Mondaire Jones skipped House votes for Issa Rae wedding

He’s received a oui little bit of explaining to do. 

Rep. Mondaire Jones used a congressional COVID rule to assign one other lawmaker vote for him on greater than a dozen payments within the House of Representatives — whereas he partied on the French Riviera at HBO star Issa Rae’s lavish wedding, The Post has discovered.

The Democrat— who represents New York’s Hudson Valley however is presently in a crowded subject vying for a brand new Park Slope-Lower Manhattan district — stated au revoir to the recent and humid Washington, D.C. summer season whereas voting through a proxy whereas citing the “public health emergency.”

The allowance was enacted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to let COVID-stricken members vote in addition to to cut back their potential publicity to the virus whereas touring from their districts to the nation’s capital.

Jones employed the possibly misused perk on 17 items of laws between July 19 and July 27, 2021 as he lived it up in France, Instagram posts and on-line data reveal.

Rep. Jones and actress Issa Rae have been friends for several years.
Rep. Jones and actress Issa Rae have been associates for a number of years.
Mondaire Jones

During that interval, a sequence of posts on the picture-sharing social media platform wherein the lawmaker is both featured or tagged present he hung out with a gaggle that included a number of leisure business professionals who traveled to Paris, Beaune, Bordeaux and Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.

Jones — competing for the open House seat in a race that features ex-Mayor Bill de Blasio — didn’t journey to Bordeaux, Versailles or Beaune, based on his marketing campaign spokesperson, who confirmed he was in France to attend the “Insecure” star’s wedding.

In order to authorize votes to be cast by another person whereas in a foreign country, the Democrat wrote in a July 19 letter to the House clerk that he was “unable” to be there in individual due to the “ongoing public health emergency” — the usual language utilized in proxy vote permission notes. 

Rep. Jones, top left, seen with other well-dressed guests at the lavish celebration.
Rep. Jones, high left, seen with different well-dressed visitors on the lavish celebration.
msdeniese/Instagram

“I am unable to physically attend proceedings in the House Chamber due to the ongoing public health emergency, and I hereby grant the authority to cast my vote by proxy to the Honorable Nikema Williams (Georgia), who has agreed to serve as my proxy,” he wrote alongside his signature.

While throughout the Atlantic, Jones frolicked with a modern jet-setting group, three members of which both appeared in or labored on HBO present “Insecure” co-created by Rae, who married Louise Diame on July 25 in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, a French commune overlooking the Ligurian Sea.

Rae overlapped with Jones, 35, at Stanford University, the place Jones graduated in 2009, whereas the 37-year-old Youtuber, producer, and comic did so two years earlier.

Rae — who doesn’t seem in any of the pictures however commented in at the very least one among them — hosted a fundraiser for Jones in August 2019 in Manhattan, the place she said, “We need people like him” in Congress.

Ahead of the wedding, Jones handed off his votes to a colleague on laws equivalent to, the Divided Families Reunification Act to assist Korean American households reunite with relations that stay in North Korea, a invoice to ban poisonous carcinogens which were present in New York’s ingesting water, in addition to the yearly budgets for the federal well being, labor and schooling departments. 

“We know Mondaire is quite unfamiliar with New York City, but remote-control governance ain’t gonna cut it here,” scoffed a rival marketing campaign insider on Wednesday.

“Sending votes in from the south of France feels par for the course for MIA Mondaire.”

In response, a Jones marketing campaign rep stated the congressman had no regrets about delegating votes for the decidedly not COVID-19 precaution-related purpose.  

Ahead of the wedding, Jones handed off his votes to a colleague on several pieces of legislation.
Ahead of the wedding, Jones handed off his votes to a colleague on a number of items of laws.
Getty Images

“It’s hard to tell what The Post is more offended by, Mondaire Jones voting against Republicans multiple times or Mondaire Jones attending the wedding of his close friend, and absolute icon, Issa Rae,” marketing campaign spokesperson Bill Neidhardt stated in a press release.

“I know it makes the Post feel ‘Insecure,’, but Rep. Jones has no apologies for his votes against the GOP or for being with his good friend during the most important week of her life,” he quipped.

It’s unclear when precisely Jones arrived in France for the nuptials. A rep couldn’t present a timeline for his journey.

An Instagram post signifies he was again in DC by Aug. 2.

Before his return, in a July 26 multi-picture post by producer and actor Andrew Allan James, who acted within the comedy-drama, Jones was captured wearing a blue blazer and white button-down shirt using with extra casually dressed associates in a car in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat close to Nice.

Rae commented on it with a string of approving emojis.

The day the snaps have been shared, the Democratic lawmaker had his votes cast by Williams 3 times, based on Congressional data.

Williams (D-GA) registered votes on the Gold Star Mothers Family Monument Extension Act, a invoice to authorize the National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation to create a commemorative project in DC, and a procedural matter, they present.

Jones has designated others to vote for him on 9 different events, online records present.

Following the tour, on Aug. 1 Jones’ touring companion Deniese Davis, an “Insecure” producer, gushed about it a series of pictures on Instagram — one wherein Jones is captured carrying a blue swimsuit — with the caption, “The trip of a lifetime.”

On Aug. 2, James, the actor and producer, shared several photos, together with a selfie with the Democratic legislator, and a video of Jones cheersing with a drink together with the vacationers.

“Ravi d’avoir fait votre connaissance,” James wrote within the publish, which interprets roughly to “happy to have made your acquaintance.

And on Aug. 14, one other member of the vacationers — Amy Aniobi, a producer and author on the present — shared more snaps along with her greater than 14,000 followers from the holiday, one which confirmed Jones with 14 others in what seems to be a resort room.

“I just came back from Nice, so…” its caption learn.

Jones appreciated each posts from his personal Instagram account.

Rep. Jones, left, with fellow guests at the wedding last summer.
Rep. Jones, left, with fellow visitors on the wedding final summer season.
andrewallanjames/Instagram

While the images have been posted in early August, the coterie appeared to have taken them a number of days earlier, since James listed different pictures from Paris and Versailles as taken on July 21 and July 22.

Ahead of his journey, Jones expressed to his Twitter followers the fun of leaving the nation, whereas reminding them to ensure their passports are legitimate.

“Summer is a great time to travel abroad, but before you go, make sure your passport is valid and up to date!” he tweeted on July 10. “As more Americans prepare to travel abroad, passport renewals can take up to 18 weeks, so don’t delay.”

After his presumably up-to-date passport was stamped throughout his jaunt, official federal documentation reveals Jones passed off his vote-casting duties to Williams for the Consumer Protection and Recovery Act on July 20 and on July 21 with the PFAS Action Act of 2021 which created regulations on perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, each carcinogens which were detected in New York state drinking water.

Per week later, data present Williams voted for the lawmaker from suburban New York on new fiscal year appropriation bills for the federal Labor, Health and Human Services and Education departments.

Also on July 27, he gave voting duties to the Peach State rep for the DUMP Opioids Act.

Additionally, Williams voted for Jones on a bill allowing the Department of Veteran Affairs to “carry out specified major medical facility projects.”

John Kaehny, head of the federal government watchdog group Reinvent Albany, stated it’s “not a great look” to vote from France. While distant voting has turn out to be commonplace and accepted throughout the pandemic, “elected officials should probably be helping constituents in their district” in the event that they vote remotely, not from a overseas nation, he stated.

Democratic marketing campaign advisor Jon Reinish instructed The Post that he predicts Jones’ marketing campaign rivals will use voting by proxy from the French Riviera as ammunition towards him.

The star-studded weekend took the Democratic representative out of the country for several days.
The star-studded weekend took the Democratic consultant in a foreign country for a number of days.
amyaniobi/Instagram

“This is a race that is highly watched and incredibly crowded. Every candidate will have every micro-problem of [their] record scrutinized,” stated Reinish, a former aide to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

“Being in Europe when there are votes taken in the House is certainly an issue that an opponent can use against Congressman Jones. Everything is fair game.”

But Reinish stated he doesn’t imagine the matter will ship a loss of life knell to Jones’ marketing campaign, as a result of the brownstone Brooklyn and decrease Manhattan district has a largely prosperous constituency who’ve the means to trip in Europe.

“I don’t know if people have a problem with it, but that doesn’t mean an opponent won’t use it against him,” he stated.

His July getaway whereas the House of Representatives was in session started simply weeks earlier than members of the legislative physique started a greater than months-long break from casting votes.

According to the 2021 House calendar, lawmakers headed dwelling for a “district work period” for your entire month of August, and didn’t have any scheduled exercise in DC till “committee work” on Aug. 31 or votes till Sept. 20.

But based mostly on a coverage enacted resulting from “the ongoing public health emergency” created by COVID-19, Jones was free to globe-trot for a buddy’s wedding whereas a special member carried out a key element of his job for him.

At the early stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, in May 2020, the Democratic majority within the House handed a measure permitting proxy voting.

Rep. Jones is not the only member of Congress who frequently votes away from the Capitol.
Rep. Jones just isn’t the one member of Congress who continuously votes away from the Capitol.
AP

Instead of being bodily current on the House ground, members may proceed to submit their votes on laws and different issues through designated colleagues. Under the newly enacted guidelines, lawmakers have been afforded the flexibility to vote on behalf of as much as 10 colleagues if they’ve written letters authorizing them to take action.

At the time, Democrats stated it was an inexpensive and short-term measure to make sure sick and susceptible colleagues have a say in laws because the virus unfold quickly. Many Republicans opposed it on the time, and proceed to take action. 

In September, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) took the case to the Supreme Court arguing that proxy voting was unconstitutional. 

In January 2021, the courtroom declined to take up the lawsuit, and in March and May, Pelosi prolonged the pandemic-induced coverage regardless of different COVID-19 laws like obligatory masking and a two-year ban on the Capitol being open to the general public being nixed.

Proxy voting continues to be permitted by way of June 28, Pelosi introduced on May 13 in a discover to members of the House. Republican lawmakers have pledged to subsequent year put an finish to distant voting in the event that they regain the bulk in November’s election.

Jones — who presently represents Rockland County and components of north Westchester — final month swooped in from Rockland County to run within the Democratic main within the reworked tenth Congressional District as an alternative of his redrawn seventeenth.

In a pair of Twitter posts, the overtly homosexual lawmaker introduced his Democratic main bid for the newly drawn tenth district, whereas framing the swap as him following within the footsteps of different LGBTQ folks of colour who’ve “sought refuge” within the space.

“I have decided to run for another term in Congress in #NY10. This is the birthplace of the LGBTQ+ rights movement,” Jones tweeted on May 21. “Since long before the Stonewall Uprising, queer people of color have sought refuge within its borders.”

The district stretches from Lower Manhattan — together with Tribeca, Greenwich Village, the East Village and the Lower East Side — into Brooklyn’s DUMBO, Brooklyn Heights, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Windsor Terrace and Borough Park neighborhoods.

The seat is with out an incumbent, since Rep. Jerry Nader selected to vacate the seat and hit the marketing campaign path on the Upper East Side and Upper West Side in a contest towards fellow veteran politician Rep. Carolyn Maloney.

Following the redistricting, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney stated he would main Jones for his newly redrawn seventeenth district as an alternative of in search of reelection in his personal remapped 18th CD. That prompted Jones — a former Westchester County lawyer who changed former longtime Rep. Nita Lowey — to final month start a bid a number of miles from the suburban district he presently represents.

Jones has the backing of Pelosi in his coming contest, sources have instructed The Post.

In the August Democratic main, Jones will face off towards a number of contenders who’ve not too long ago been elected by voters in components of the district: de Blasio — who represented Park Slope and surrounding neighborhoods within the City Council within the 2000s — Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou of decrease Manhattan, Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon of Brownstone Brooklyn and Councilwoman Carlina Rivera of the East Village.

Other House wannabes within the tenth CD embody Elizabeth Holtzman — the 80-year-old first girl metropolis comptroller, four-term congresswoman earlier than she turned Brooklyn DA — Daniel Goldman, the Democrats’ lead lawyer within the first impeachment of former President Donald Trump, and Chinese dissident Yan Xiong.

Jones just isn’t the one member of Congress to vote from exterior the nation’s capital.

Rep. Kaiali’i Kahele (D-Hawaii), who is ready to go away congress to run for governor, has been absent from Congress for most of 2022, solely voting in individual 5 occasions as of mid-April.

In 2021, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez picked fellow left-wing Democratic House member Jamaal Bowman to vote on her behalf whereas she campaigned for then-mayoral candidate Maya Wiley.

Earlier this year, House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-NY) voted by proxy on the identical day she appeared with former President Donald Trump for a fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago in Florida.

Additional reporting by Carl Campanile and Callie Patteson

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