Congressional Staffer Fired After Ties to Chinese Embassy Revealed

(NR) A congressional staffer was fired after her outreach to other congressional aides allegedly on behalf of the Chinese embassy was revealed this week, National Review has learned. After an investigation found that the staffer had acted improperly, her boss, Representative Don Beyer, swiftly removed her.

“Congressman Beyer was totally unaware of these activities prior to being contacted by the House Sergeant At Arms,” Aaron Fritschner, his deputy chief of staff, told National Review in a statement this morning. “As soon as he learned of them, he followed every directive he was given by security officials. The staffer in question is no longer employed by the office of Congressman Beyer.” . . .

. . . . The comments came in response to an inquiry from NR concerning allegations about the outreach efforts by Hamlett, who was employed as a scheduler. Congressional sources had told NR earlier that Hamlett had sent emails to, placed phone calls to, and even showed up at the offices of other congressional staffers in order to invite them to meetings with Chinese embassy staff in recent months.

A source familiar with the situation said that the House sergeant at arms (SAA) notified Beyer’s office on Tuesday that Hamlett had requested meetings with different congressional offices on behalf of people at the Chinese embassy, after staffers in other offices reported being contacted by her. The SAA’s office was apparently aware of two requested meetings “in the context of meals,” including at Charlie Palmer Steak, a popular restaurant near the Capitol. . . .

. . . . One congressional aide told NR that after he ignored several emails from Chinese embassy staff requesting a meeting about one of his boss’s bills earlier this year, Hamlett, a 34-year veteran of Capitol Hill, called his office and then showed up in person, asking him to step outside for a conversation.

“So she comes to my office and asks that we step out into the hallway, and she says she is friends with the embassy and that they have been trying to get in contact with me,” the congressional aide said, on condition of anonymity. She wanted to schedule a lunch. He agreed to coffee.

But when the aide showed up for the meeting in June, Hamlett didn’t participate in the discussion. In fact, she sat at a different table with a female embassy staff member, NR was told. The aide then had a one-on-one discussion with a male embassy staffer, who was “talking about one of my boss’s bills. They do not like it.”

In recent weeks, NR has learned, Hamlett had also attempted to schedule a separate meeting between a Republican aide and a Chinese diplomat after that aide had, likewise, ignored emails from Chinese embassy staff.

She introduced herself in a message sent from an official House of Representatives email account. “I have worked on The Hill for nearly 34 yrs. and worked 5 of those years as Deputy Scheduler to the late Senator Arlen Specter,” she wrote, inviting the staffer to a lunch meeting. “I would like to introduce you to some friends of mine that work at the Chinese Embassy who would like to meet you and have a chat,” the email continued.

The staffer ignored that message as well. Soon after that, she called and showed up at the staffer’s office, asking to speak with him, which was viewed as highly suspicious.

The source familiar with the situation, meanwhile, said that Hamlett engaged in highly inappropriate behavior to facilitate interactions between the embassy and congressional offices on foreign-policy and national-security matters but that as a scheduler for Beyer, she did not have access to any sensitive national-security information.

Aide to Dem Rep. Don Beyer fired after allegedly working with Chinese Embassy | Fox News

. . . . Hamlett’s time working in congressional offices dates back to the 1970s, according to congressional data. She had worked as a scheduler in Beyer’s office.

During her time on Capitol Hill, Hamlett has worked for several members of Congress, including late Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Penn., former Rep. Diane Watson, D-Calif., Rep. Mike Honda, D-Calif., Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, and former Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y. . . .

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