Lawmaker Mondaire Jones accused of using Covid voting rules so he could go to Issa Rae’s wedding

The lawmaker used the proxy voting rule 17 times between 19 July and 27 July, according to documents

<p>Democrat Rep Mondaire Jones of New York reportedly voted by proxy while attending his friend, Issa Rae’s, wedding in France</p>

Democrat Rep Mondaire Jones of New York reportedly voted by proxy while attending his friend, Issa Rae’s, wedding in France

Democratic Rep Mondaire Jones reportedly tapped into the House’s Covid-19 proxy voting rule to attend celebrity friend Issa Rae’s wedding in France last summer. And he apparently did it a whopping 17 times, says the New York Post.

The New York congressman, a close friend of the HBO star, reportedly travelled to Saint-Jean-Cap Ferrat, in the south of France, to attend the Insecure actor’s wedding to businessman Louis Diame.

Though the Democrat was physically not in the nation’s capital between 19 July and 27 July, he was still able to vote by proxy. This ability and rule was enacted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during the early stages of the pandemic in order to respond to the ongoing public health crisis.

However, to vote by proxy, lawmakers are required to send a letter that cites the ongoing public health emergency as their reason for being absent and they must also designate a representative within the House who will file their vote on their behalf.

In a letter penned by Mr Jones dated on 19 July 2021 obtained by the Post, Mr Jones noted that he would be unable to vote because of the “ongoing public health emergency”.

“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, who has agreed to serve as my proxy,” Mr Jones wrote, handing over his voting authority to the Democratic representative from Georgia.

During the congressman’s absence from DC, the Post reported that he used the proxy voting rule 17 times, between the dates July 19 to July 27. Also during Mr Jones’ absence from DC, there were only six days where bills were voted on and on the same days where Mr Jones was absent, there were at least two dozen other lawmakers who had relied on the proxy voting rule.

On 19 July, for instance, there were three dozen lawmakers who voted by proxy, while on other days that Mr Jones was absent there were at least a dozen other lawmakers utilising the Covid-19 proxy voting rule.

When reached for comment by the New York-based outlet, a spokesperson for the congressman confirmed that Mr Jones had attended Ms Rae’s wedding during the period that he’d used proxy voting.

“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,” campaign spokesperson Bill Neidhardt said in a statement to the Post, before adding: “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.”

Mr Jones and Ms Rae both attended Stanford University. The actor graduated two years ahead of the New York politician.

After the Post broke their story, a tweet from the paper’s front page caught the attention of Mr Jones and his spokesperson, Bill Neidhardt, both noted that the picture the outlet had used to depict the story was not, in fact, a picture of the representative for New York’s Hudson Valley.

“hey @nypost , that’s not Mondaire Jones on the front page of your paper,” Mr Neidhart tweeted while sharing a screenshot of a picture used on the newspaper’s front page, which captioned the story, “Ooh La Liar”.

Mr Jones retweeted the same screenshot, saying, “It’s the racism for me”, before adding, “Anyway, back to fighting white supremacy!”

The Independent has reached out to Mr Jones for comment.

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