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December 5, 2018

Ethics panel report faults Garrett staff assignments

Rep. Tom Garrett (R-Va./5th), who will retire at month’s end, denies the Congressional Ethics Committee report findings.
The OCE Referral is riddled with falsities and innuendo and demonstrates profound concerns about how the OCE conducted its investigation into this matter.
— Congressman Garrett’s lawyer
The congressman who represents most of Fauquier inappropriately asked his staff to perform a range of personal errands during working hours, according to an Office of Congressional Ethics report released Tuesday.

Staff chores for Rep. Thomas Garrett (R-Va./5th) and his wife included walking their dog, getting the oil changed in their car and shopping for household items, the report says.

The findings come less than a month before Mr. Garrett retires after one term, representing the sprawling district that stretches from Northern Fauquier to the North Carolina line.

> Report and response at bottom of story

Denver Riggleman (R) easily won election last month to succeed Mr. Garrett, who in May cited his battle with alcoholism as the reason for stepping down.

“Congressman Garrett and his wife Flanna Garrett deny that they used congressional staff to perform unofficial work and personal errands,” the congressman’s attorney, Elliot S. Berke wrote in response to the ethics committee findings. “Congressman Garrett believes he has always held himself and his office to the highest ethical standards and does not believe that any requests made to congressional staff to facilitate the work of his office were unofficial or personal in nature.”

Mr. Berke added: “The OCE Referral is riddled with falsities and innuendo and demonstrates profound concerns about how the OCE conducted its investigation into this matter.”

The report will have no long-term effect as the committee has oversight only in cases involving sitting lawmakers.

The 5th Congressional District includes 16 of Fauquier County’s 20 voting precincts: Airlie, Baldwin Ridge, Broad Run, Casanova, Courthouse, Kettle Run, Leeds, Marshall, New Baltimore, Opal, Remington, Springs Valley, The Plains, Warrenton, Waterloo and Vint Hill.

OCE Report on Rep. Tom Garrett by on Scribd

Rep. Tom Garrett's Resp... by on Scribd

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Tony Bentley · December 11, 2018 at 5:10 pm
Addiction is an ugly master, and I will not cast stones. Mr. Garrett isn't the first and won't be the last to be found with issues in our political world. All the best to his family and himself in working this through to a healthy ending.
JohnnyD · December 10, 2018 at 12:49 pm
He is not the only one in Congress with a drinking problem. Their culture in DC pretty much encourages it.

And I'd be willing to bet he is not the only one in Congress that had staffers do some personal things. His staffers just complained and he has to pay the price, as he should.
RGLJA · December 7, 2018 at 8:28 am
Tom Garrett was a huge disappointment. There are many alcoholics who have successfully taken control of their lives with complete abstinence. But there are others, like Garrett, who sadly cannot control themselves. But usually, an out-of-control alcoholic cannot fool people for very long. Why wasn't it an issue in the election campaign? There were several great candidates in the Republican nomination battle that year, and none of them brought it up. His Democrat opponent, Dittmar, was a terrible candidate politically and probably couldn't win anyway, but she never brought it up either. What has happened to good old fashioned opposition research in political campaigns? Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats did a good job of exposing their opponent's most significant flaw in that election, and neither did the press, and the 5th district paid the price for it.
Silii · December 6, 2018 at 6:41 pm
Of course he denies it. All he had on his mind, paraphrased from his statements in a Fauquier Times article earlier this year, was getting to the bottle in his secret drinking place. He was always drunk or horribly hungover. But, drunks also deny lots of things and have no memory of lots of things. His staff isn't lying. If he's in treatment, as he said he was, he would own up to these things. Clearly he's still in denial - long way to go to sobriety, Mr. Garrett.
Silii · December 6, 2018 at 6:33 pm
Garrett is a common drunk and knew it when he ran for office. Citizens of VA 5th have had no representation since he was sworn in. His constituent services were abysmal. And, he has cost constituents plenty of money due to income tax increases for a tax reform bill he helped keep secret but also never read. Questions to his staff about provisions in that bill went unanswered. And, now we have Riggleman who said he will join the Freedom Caucus, meaning he will not be able to think and act independently for taxpayers in VA 5th. More of the same.
JohnnyD · December 6, 2018 at 8:50 am
And where were your concerns about many of the Obama appointees? Don't have to look much further than Eric Holder as Attorney General or Hillary Clinton as SecState to see poor selections.

I give Obama credit; he got rid of all Bush appointees in his first two months, whether they were doing a good job or not. Trump didn't do that and it has caused him problems. Some of the Obama appointees are now being investigated for illegally switching their employment status.

I'm not a big Trump fan, but I am less of a fan of the hypocrisy so proudly displayed by the new democratic partiers. Time to start holding all politicians to the same standards.
Rover 530 · December 5, 2018 at 9:33 pm
So what did the voters of the 5th Congressional District do? They replaced a drunk with a booze maker who has strange fantasies about Bigfoot. I guess we get what we deserve. The "swamp" is slowly being drained as evidenced by the results of last November's elections. There are bums in both parties who do not deserve to be representing us in Congress and the Virginia General Assembly. But Our president has poured more muck into the "swamp" with his poor, off-the-cuff, "gut" appointment of blatant scoundrels to high positions in our government based on what he perceives to be personal loyalty. Sick.
Melrose Carter · December 5, 2018 at 8:27 pm
Agreed JohnnyD - The article was about Garrett not other politicians so I posted what I posted, yet there is a huge backup of the sewer called politics, both parties and beyond to lobbyists, contributors to campaigns, foreign government interference. I give none of them a pass!
JohnnyD · December 5, 2018 at 3:14 pm
forgot to include his party affiliation: Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D-NV)
JohnnyD · December 5, 2018 at 3:10 pm
You are right Melrose, these silly republicans need to learn from the democrats and Hillary how to hide and destroy evidence as soon as they hear of an impending investigation.

At least Rep. Garrett's mistakes will not cost the taxpayers any money, like these House Ethics Committee investigations probably will:

-California Democratic Rep. Tony Cardenas has been accused of allegedly molesting a teenage girl in 2007.

-A nine-month House Ethics Committee investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct made against Rep. Ruben Kihuen last year has determined that the freshman congressman “made persistent and unwanted advances toward women who were required to work with him” in violation of House rules. But not even a year ago Kihuen stood on the stairs of the Lloyd George U.S. Courthouse in Las Vegas and declared himself a champion for women. He fits the new hypocrite mold for sure.

The bottom line is both parties have responsibility for the mess the House and Senate have become. Time to start cleaning it up before it is too late, term limits and controlling lobbyist funding is a good start.
Melrose Carter · December 5, 2018 at 2:00 pm
Another Republican bites the dust - do as I say, not as I do.
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