Time's up for House Ethics Committee's probe of Rep. Tom Garrett
Rep. Tom Garrett, R-Va., in January a year ago. The House Ethics Committee revealed it ran out of time in its investigation into the congressman. (Getty, File)
The House Ethics Committee revealed Wednesday that it had run out of time in its investigation into exiting Republican Rep. Tom Garrett of Virginia, who earlier this year was accused of having aides perform duties outside their typical congressional jobs during work hours.
By this point, the committee said it has been unable to complete its probe into the allegations and is set to lose jurisdiction over Garrett on Thursday with the start of the next Congress.
Garrett announced in May, just days after reports on the allegations surfaced, that he would not seek re-election, citing a battle with alcoholism.
Among the tasks the aides claim Garrett, and his wife, Flanna, reportedly asked them to do: watch and clean up after their Jack Russell-Pomeranian mix, drive Flanna to the grocery store, and drive their children from their home in Scottsville, in his home district, to Washington -- a three- hour trip.
“Given Representative Garrett’s impending departure from the House, the committee worked expeditiously to investigate the allegations,” a statement from the panel said, noting that members had interviewed several witnesses, including the accused lawmaker, and looked over 1,500 documents.
Garrett’s wife, as well as some current and former congressional staff members, were not fully cooperative with the committee, slowing its efforts to review the matter, the panel said.
“It was apparent from the evidence gathered by the committee that Representative Garrett did not understand or appreciate the limits on when and how he could call upon his congressional staff to assist him with respect to tasks that were not in direct support of his official representational duties,” the statement said.
In a statement Wednesday to Fox News, Garrett said the “report, like the tabloid story that initiated the process, is based on half-truths and whole lies,” adding that “it is sourced by disgruntled former staffers who stood to gain.”
“The ‘investigators’ apparently used a Magic 8 Ball to determine whose testimony to believe and whose to disregard,” Garrett said. “Regardless, I'm happy that this destructive process has concluded with no action, report, or findings from the committee or any members of Congress.”
“I'm sorry for the hurt that the lies perpetuated in this staff report wrought upon my wife and children, but I'm delighted that as I write this, I am seven months and nine days without a drink. The courage to attack that demon ironically sprung largely from the falsehoods that undergird this ridiculous process,” he continued. “Most of all, I take comfort knowing that while justice is often not served in life, it is always served in the afterlife.”
Fox News’ Alex Pappas and Madeline Fish contributed to this report.