A Democrat congressman has fired an aide this week after after he learned of the aide’s alleged work attempting to collect scheduling info to arrange meetings between Chinese Embassy officials and other Congressional staffers.
The National Review first reported Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) fired a staffer after being notified of the staffer’s alleged efforts to get other Congressional staffers to take meetings with Chinese Embassy Officials. The staffer has been identified as Barbara Hamlett.
Hamlett has worked on Capitol Hill for 34 years and was working at the time as scheduler for Beyer’s office. She reportedly did not have access to any sensitive national security information.
The House Sergeant at Arms (SAA) reportedly notified Beyer of Hamlett’s alleged ties to the Chinese Embassy on Tuesday. Beyer’s office launched an investigation into the claims on Wednesday and fired Hamlett this week.
“While Congressman Beyer had no inkling of this staffer’s actions and acted promptly upon learning of them, he understands that his constituents may be shocked to learn of this, just as he was,” Beyer’s deputy chief of staff Aaron Fritschner said in a statement reported by the Daily Caller. “He pledges to them that he will remain a fierce critic of China’s record, continue to oppose the CCP’s totalitarian repression of its citizens, and hold himself and his staff to the highest professional and ethical standards.”
Hamlett had reportedly tried to arrange meetings with staffers from at least two Republican offices before the House Sergeant at Arms (SAA) learned of her actions and notified Beyer.
One congressional staffer who had agreed to a coffee meeting was reportedly confronted by an embassy official who expressed their opposition to his boss’s proposed legislation, the Washington Times reported.
China has made other concerted efforts to gain access to lawmakers in the U.S. In 2020, Axios reported a Chinese national named Fang Fang, or Christine Fang, had tried to influence rising political figures, including Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA).