Former Democrat Senator Kyrsten Sinema is facing an ethics complaint, as more than a dozen non-profit organizations come together to request an investigation into rules she imposes on her Senate staff.
Members of Congress are supposed to utilize their staff for Congressional duties — they may draft legislation, handle scheduling on Capitol Hill, answer calls, greet visitors, and any number of other duties that are relevant to the job of governing.
However, the staff is not to be put to work on personal duties, such as chores at an elected official’s home or personal errands.
Allegations against Sinema, who dropped her party affiliation after the November midterms, claim that she has not only induced staff to carry out these types of personal errands but has had them on campaign duty during their workday.
Staffers have been (the complaint alleges) required to make fundraising contacts and schedule campaign events, which government rules actually forbid them from doing.
“Sinema aides are bound by a 37-page memo that lays out a very specific set of demands: the senator’s groceries are to be picked up promptly, her hour-long massages are to be booked weekly, and her internet service at home in D.C. must always be in working order. (If not, an assistant “should call Verizon to schedule a repair” so a staff member can be there to let a technician into her apartment, according to the memo.),” The Daily Beast reported.
Sinema has been criticized for seeming to place a higher devotion on being ‘quirky’ and interesting than on delivering for her constituents, and the current allegations just add to the image of a legislator focused on her own importance and image.
It’s not the staff’s first complaint about her, either.
In 2021, seven staffers spoke to Business Insider, calling the work environment ‘demoralizing’ and saying they worried about the backlash if they made even the smallest blunder.
They also bemoaned the struggle of answering phones for a Senator who keeps disappointing her own voters by drifting more centrist and away from the progressive values they intended to support by putting her in office.
Those former supporters were already calling her a “turncoat” last year when Vice interviewed campaign staff and volunteers as Sinema abandoned her fellow Senate Democrats on the matter of the filibuster, and can only be more disappointed and frustrated now that she’s taken the next step and changed her party affiliation.
This ethics complaint could be one step more towards Democrats throwing their support behind a progressive candidate in 2024, and letting Sinema go her own way.
Steph Bazzle covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph.