Rep. Tom Garret (R-Va.) allegedly turned the congressman’s staffers into personal servants and gofers, according to statements from multiple former employees, Politico reported.
What were they asked to do?
Four former staffers claim they were assigned to do grocery shopping, pick up clothing the congressman forgot at his Washington apartment, care for the family dog, and chauffeur his daughters, according to the report.
The former employees — not named in the story — said they performed the tasks out of fear that their careers would not advance if they refused. The former aides said “inappropriate” requests were also made of interns.
Politico stated that it agreed to not name the former employees because they fear retribution. Some of the demands were made by Garrett's wife, Flanna, who frequently came to his House office with him, according to the report.
“I didn’t know who I was working for: Was I working for him? Was I working for her?” said one of those staffers. “We became their gofers.”
Several aides said the couple brought their dog to the office and occasionally would forget about the pet. If that happened, the aides were responsible for transporting the dog back to Garrett’s Washington apartment.
How did Garrett respond?
Matt Missen, a spokesman for Garrett, declined to respond to a list of allegations.
“We see no reason to respond to anonymous, unfounded allegations primarily targeting Congressman Garrett’s wife, made by Politico’s ‘unnamed’ sources,” he said. “It is easy to spread untruths and even easier to exaggerate and imply wrongdoing when none exists.”
Garrett’s chief of staff, Jimmy Keady, abruptly quit Tuesday over the couple’s alleged misuse of “official resources.”
“Multiple sources raised the issue with the congressman, and senior staffers tried to rectify the situation repeatedly,” the report stated.
Garrett, 46, an Army veteran and former state senator, told associates on Wednesday that he may not run for re-election, an announcement that stunned Republicans in Virginia and Washington. But the next day he held a 30-minute news conference announcing that he is seeking another term.
“There is no way in heck that I’m not going to be back here in 2019 as a member of the Congress representing the 5th District of Virginia. Too darn much is at stake,” Garrett reportedly said.