The Associated Press reports Representative Steve Rothman (D-NJ) has fired his top aide, Robert Decheine, after learning Decheine was arrested in a Gaithersburg, Maryland police sting operation. The 48-year-old has been charged with soliciting sex from an underage girl, after responding to a web ad placed by the police, and communicating with an undercover officer via phone and text messages.
A spokesman said Rep. Rothman “considers this alleged criminal act to be shocking, appalling, and indefensible. As a parent, he understands the vital importance of protecting our children from predators.” The spokesman said Rothman acted quickly to terminate his relationship with Decheine after the arrest, but it actually took six days for the congressman’s office to announce the firing.
Decheine was arrested on Wednesday, November 17, and authorities said they contacted the House of Representatives to confirm his employment status immediately. Rothman announced the termination on Tuesday, November 23. His spokesman says he didn’t become aware of the arrest until Friday the nineteenth. Is it normal for a congressman to fail to notice his chief of staff is missing for two days? Does the clerical apparatus of the House generally fail to notify representatives when the cops ring them up to verify employment for high-ranking staffers after they get arrested for sex crimes against minors?
The Politico website notes that Decheine was a senior adviser to the Obama campaign, and previously served as chief of staff to Representative Bill Luther, a Minnesota Democrat. He has worked for Rothman since 2003.
If Steve Rothman’s name sounds familiar, it might be due to the widely distributed videotape of his anger at a constituent who caught him lying about ObamaCare during a town hall meeting. Hopefully his final conversation with Decheine was even angrier.