Connie Schultz, wife of Sen. Sherrod Brown, leaves Cleveland Plain Dealer

Evan Vucci/ASSOCIATED PRESS - Sen. Sherrod Brown (D- Ohio), with his wife, Connie Schultz.

The wife of Sen. Sherrod Brown has resigned her post at a Cleveland newspaper, citing a conflict of interest as her husband seeks re-election in 2012.

Connie Schultz, a Pulitzer-prize winning columnist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer e-mailed her colleagues on Monday and said that it was time for her to “move on.”

“In recent weeks, it has become painfully clear that my independence, professionally and personally, is possible only if I’m no longer writing for the newspaper that covers my husband’s Senate race on a daily basis,” she wrote.

Long the target of conservatives who charged that she used her perch as a columnist to support her husband, Schultz will continue to write for Parade magazine, and remains a writer with Creators Syndicate.

Most recently, Schultz came under fire for attending and videotaping a tea party event and failing to mention that her husband’s likely 2012 opponent, Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel (R),was one of the speakers. In a Sept. 8 Cleveland.com column, titled “Lesson Learned,” she wrote in part:

I did not mention him because I wanted to avoid the appearance of singling him out for criticism, or promoting my husband. In retrospect, that was a mistake.

You, the reader, should always be trusted to make up your own mind about whether my writing presents a conflict. That’s why transparency matters. I am in the unique position of being a newspaper columnist married to a U.S. senator. My opinions are my own, but I must be ever vigilant to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest. I’m sorry I didn’t let you know Mandel showed up.

Schultz, who won a Pulitzer in 2005 for commentary, temporarily resigned her post as her husband first ran for Senate in 2006. She wrote about her time on the campaign trail with her husband in the memior “...and His Lovely Wife.”

Sen. Brown’s office declined to comment on Schultz’s departure.

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