Politics

Rep. Tom Garrett the Subject of Multiple Ethics Probes

OCE and House Ethics Committee looking into Virginia rep’s alcoholism, use of staffers to run personal errands

Rep. Tom Garrett, R-Va., is the subject of two ethics probes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Tom Garrett is facing more ethics probes than he has years under his belt in Congress.

The GOP freshman from Virginia is the subject of two probes into allegations that he used his congressional aides to run personal errands for him and his wife on taxpayer-funded official time and how his self-reported alcoholism has affected his work, Politico first reported.

The Office of Congressional Ethics has received a request to review some of the allegations against Garrett. The House Ethics Committee has also launched a review into the case facts, though chairwoman Susan Brooks of Indiana has not officially formed an investigative subcommittee.

Garrett has allegedly deployed staffers to pick up groceries, give his daughters rides to and from school, and run a host of other household errands for him and his wife. House members are not allowed to use their staff members for work outside Congress.

Garrett announced in May he would retire at the end of his first term to confront his excessive drinking.

His office strongly denied he has committed any legal wrongdoing during his time in office and criticized Politico’s reporting in a statement to the newspaper.

“Congressman Garrett has broken no laws and comported himself in an ethical manner,” Garrett's office said in the statement.

“POLITICO’s original story was populated with half-truths and whole lies. ... Now, confidential inquiries have been made public by those not satisfied by the outcome of previous smear attempts. When Garrett is cleared on any legal wrongdoing, we wonder whether the DC character assassins will be in such a hurry to run a story. We are doubtful.”

Garrett, a former state senator who joined the conservative House Freedom Caucus last year, was elected to Virginia’s 5th District in 2016 by a 17-point margin. President Donald Trump carried the 5th District by 11 points.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the 2018 race Likely Republican. Democrats have made this district a target. Former journalist Leslie Cockburn won the nomination at a Democratic convention in May.

She will face businessman Denver Riggleman, the GOP’s choice to replace Garrett on the ballot.

Watch: Garrett Says He’s Running for Re-election in Winding Speech

Simone Pathé contributed to this report.

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