Republican Lawmaker Busted For Using Congressional Staff As ‘Personal Servants’
A report from a House Ethics Committee investigation released Wednesday has revealed that Rep. Tom Garrett (R-Va.) “violated the public trust” by having his staff perform personal services, including dog sitting for him and unloading his groceries at his home.
The investigation also found that Garrett’s staff carried out a range of other services, including buying gifts for his family, babysitting his child and helping his family move apartments.
Many of the allegations levied against Garrett were first reported by Politico in May. Days after the Politico report was published, Garrett announced that he would not seek reelection, citing alcoholism.
According to the Ethics Committee report, Garrett “acknowledged that his staff helped care for his dog, Sophie, both inside and outside the office.” Staffers reportedly told the committee that they would often take the dog on walks, and the report noted that Garrett would often forget the dog at the office and ask staff to bring the dog to his apartment.
Additionally, Garrett’s wife had a staff member help her unload “large grocery hauls” at the Garretts’ home, the report states. The staff member wasn’t compensated for helping with those groceries, according to the report.
The Committee also found “substantial evidence” of several other tasks performed by staff members, a pattern that the committee says continued even after Garrett “was specifically advised of relevant rules and regulations by the Committee’s advice and education staff.”
The committee also accuses the Garretts of attempting to impede the committee’s investigation and suggests this was done in an effort to “run out the clock on the Committee’s jurisdiction.”
The committee will lose jurisdiction over Garrett when he leaves office Thursday and thus can’t penalize him, but the committee wrote that the report is “intended to remind the House community that government resources should be used judiciously and with primary regard toward serving the needs of constituents.”