(WMC-TV) - Congressman Steve Cohen's former aide, Randy Wade, is speaking out, after Cohen filed an ethics complaint against Wade last July.
Now, Wade calls Cohen paranoid and says the congressman even had spies follow staffers.
In a news conference Tuesday, Wade turned the tables on Cohen, suggesting some of Cohen's actions may have been unethical.
"This press conference is about defending my name," Wade declared.
Wade says the complaint Congressman Cohen sent to the House Committee on Ethics July 31, 2012 is an attack on his character.
"The congressman, I think he hit me below the belt," he added.
Cohen, on the other hand, says his office is obligated to report ethics violations.
Wade says Cohen let politics break their bond.
"Him visiting me when I was in the hospital," he recalled, "I'm visiting him with his mom when she was sick."
The complaint stems from Representative G.A. Hardaway's 2012 campaign flyer.
The flyer said Randy Wade, District Director for U.S. Congressman Steve Cohen, considers Hardaway "the go-to guy for the congressman's office."
The ethics committee says Wade may have used his official "title for a campaign endorsement" and "non-official purposes."
Wade says Hardaway quoted him from an off-the-cuff conversation before the 2012 election.
"I never put up signs, I was never on his billboard," Wade explained. "I was on a card."
Wade then spoke directly to Cohen.
"I've been up on billboards when you asked me to as an employee," said Wade. "I've cut radio spots for you, Congressman, when you asked me to."
House rules prohibit staffers from campaigning for their boss during work hours.
Wade would not directly say if he felt Cohen himself violated ethics.
"How do you say no to your boss?" asked Wade.
Cohen told Action News 5 that he never wanted Wade to take a leave of absence to campaign for him because Cohen needed Wade in the office.
Wade told the press that Cohen cannot effectively run District 9.
"He has to get away from the paranoia," Wade commented.
He expounded on his comment, saying Cohen spies on Cohen's own campaign staff.
"A campaign staff member, he sent people out to spy on her," Wade expounded.
Congressman Cohen's office says Randy Wade only appeared in Cohen's billboard when Wade was running for sheriff.
The billboard (see photo) identifies Wade as a sheriff's candidate.
Cohen's office says Wade asked to be in the billboard to promote Wade's campaign.
Wade says he has no plans to run for Congress himself.
He will hold what's called a "People's Convention" to choose a consensus candidate to run against Cohen.
Meanwhile, Wade plans to run Tarik Sugarman's campaign for Juvenile Court Judge.