IN THE NEWS: Congressman Rokita skirting ethics laws by compelling official staff to take “voluntary” political work?

INDIANAPOLIS – Congressman Rokita may be compelling staff in his official congressional office to do voluntary campaign work, which would be a violation of campaign ethics laws, according to an AP report filed this morning. Congressman Rokita’s brutal treatment of his staff falls well outside the norm for congressional offices, the report states, while three staffers notably mentioned that “many also felt obligated to do volunteer political work.” If true, Congressman Rokita’s office would be misusing tax dollars by devoting taxpayer-funded staff and resources to his campaign. 

From the AP: Former aides say GOP lawmaker yelled at staff, docked pay

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Staffers in tears. Pay cuts for small mistakes. Aides who walked out of the office — and never came back.

But even in Congress, where ambition and ego can go hand-in-hand, Rokita’s behavior is outside the norm, according to the former aides, most of whom have worked for other elected officials.

During the 2010 campaign, a worker was booted from a staff meeting and instructed to clean Rokita’s vehicle, which included scrubbing the carpets, according to two people with direct knowledge of the incident.

The reason? A volunteer driver had body odor the night before, they say. Rokita’s campaign said the congressman did not recall the incident.

Three former congressional staffers said that if Rokita was working, the general expectation was that his staff would as well. Many also felt obligated to do volunteer political work, the three staffers said.

 

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