Garrett responds to the Office of Congressional Ethics' findings on treatment of staff
LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) - An investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics has concluded that Congressman Tom Garrett requested personal errands and unofficial work from his staffers.
He said that's not the whole story, and questions the validity of those who came forward with the information.
Congressman Garrett says an anonymously sourced Politico article that came out in May is the genesis of the current investigation.
"There was no investigation nor story until I fired my chief of staff, and then said I'm still running," he said. "Within four hours of saying I'm still running there's an investigation."
The Office of Congressional Ethics conducted the investigation.
It found that former staffers say Garrett and his wife made his staff do personal errands including taking his dog on walks.
"Did people walk the dog? Sure. They used to argue over who got to walk the dog," said Garrett.
Also cited in the documents were staff trips to Costco.
"Did anybody ever go to Costco? Yes. did they purchase supplies for the office with money out of my pocket? Yes. I don't think there is anything unethical about buying sodas and coffee for the staff and having a staffer help my wife, who was 8 months pregnant carry it," explained Garrett.
Garrett speculates these allegations could be in retaliation.
In documents done by Garrett's lawyer it says Garrett fired his Communications Director Matt Missen after learning he was using a false name, had past criminal charges, submitted false reimbursements, and didn't make him aware of media requests for information or interviews.
Below is the response from Representative Garrett.
For now, Garrett says he's keeping everything in perspective.
"I've been extraordinarily blessed, there are a lot of miles left on this odometer," explained Garrett, "I am proud of running for office, looking people in the eye and doing the best in what I set out to do."
Now the findings will head to the Committee on Ethics for review. If Garrett was found guilty of this, the highest punishment he could face would be expulsion from Congress.
Garrett's term is up in less than a month.
You can read the Office of Congressional Ethics' entire report below.