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- Former staffers for Rep. Tom Garrett claim they were required to preform personal errands for the congressman.
- These errands included grocery shopping, driving his family, and looking after his dog.
- Garrett’s chief of staff quit Tuesday, reportedly over these allegations.
Ex-staffers and interns for GOP Congressman Tom Garrett (R-VA) claim that instead of being able to fully focus on their duties of working on legislation and helping serve constituents, they were treated like glorified housekeepers and butlers, according to a report from Politico.
Four former aides described a chaotic and toxic office environment in which staffers and unpaid interns were expected to run all kinds of personal errands for their boss or his wife, Flanna Garrett, at any time.
These errands reportedly included being sent to pick up groceries or clean clothes for the congressman, chauffeuring Garrett’s children back and forth from his district three hours away in Virginia, pet sitting for his dog, Sophie, and even cleaning up the mess when Sophie had accidents in the office.
Garret, 46, is an Army veteran and former Virginia state senator currently serving his first term in the House of Representatives for Virginia’s 5th Congressional District.
The aides claim that Flanna routinely accompanies her husband to work and expects aides to meet her demands well outside of work hours.
According to the legislative data collection website LegiStorm, Garrett’s office holds the fourth-highest rate of staff turnover in the entire House of Representatives, despite him being in office for less than a year and a half.
A spokesman for the congressman vehemently denies the allegations, but Garrett’s former chief of staff Jimmy Keady abruptly quit his job on Tuesday, allegedly over a dispute with the Congressman on the claimed misuse of congressional resources and staff.
These allegations could spell trouble for Garrett as he prepares to run for reelection this fall. Because the salaries of staffers are paid by taxpayers, the House Ethics Committee manual explicitly prohibits the use of staff or interns for non-official duties, including any personal errands or tasks.