House Ethics Committee report says Rep. Tom Garrett tried to 'run out the clock' on probe
47-page report says Garrett also misused officials resources
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A lengthy House Ethics Committee report says that Rep. Tom Garrett was "trying to run out the clock on the Committee's jurisdiction," on top of asking his staff to run personal errands -- from buying cigarettes to helping his children apply to schools, according to the Washington Post.
Garrett announced in May that he will not seek reelection for Virginia's 5th District seat as a result of his battle with alcoholism.
Normally, members of Congress who violate rules on how staff time and official resources are spent are required to repay the federal government -- Garrett, however, will not have to reimburse the U.S. Treasury, according to the report.
In the Committee's 47-page report, the panel's nonpartisan staff suggested Garrett and his wife, Flanna, were trying to avoid censure by delaying the investigation.
Below is a statement from the report:
“The Garretts’ delays and last minute productions raise concerns that they were trying to run out the clock on the Committee’s jurisdiction.”
The panel said the House Ethics Committee interviewed 11 witnesses, reviewed 1,500 pages of documents and authorized four subpoenas throughout probe.
Two of the witnesses told investigators that Garrett asked about buying marijuana and had used the drug with staffers.
Garrett denied claims, telling investigators, “I prosecuted for the better part of a decade. If I wanted to buy marijuana, I could have it for you right quick like.”
The report goes into detail of the inappropriate requests made by Garrett and his wife, Flanna Garrett, of the Congressman's staff and states this was a pattern.
Staffers say Garrett and his wife requested them to do tasks like take care of their dog, drive and care for their car, set up medical appointments, help Garrett and his wife move, help Garrett's children get passports and apply for school, buy Garrett cigarettes and give tours to people who were not Garrett's constituents.
Staffers also told investigators that Garrett's wife would use profanity when talking to staff, often leaving them feeling berated and belittled.
Below is a text from Flanna Garrett:
“NONE of what I asked to be done with the phone was done. Not a f****** thing. I am going to sit down with some of your staff and tell them how f****** disrespectful and STUPIDLY shortsighted they are for completely disregarding every thing [sic] I asked them to do.”
The report says Garrett didn't put any limits on his wife's exchanges with staff.
Garrett told investigators that "stuff happened that probably shouldn't have happened," but that he thought it was okay to ask staffers to perform personal tasks as long as they were being paid b his campaign.