‘Compromised’: Democratic Aide Fired for China Ties; GOP Demands Investigation

‘Compromised’: Democratic Aide Fired for China Ties; GOP Demands Investigation
Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), the vice chair of the Joint Economic Committee, attends a hearing with the House Rules Committee at the U.S. Capitol on Aug. 10, 2022. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
Andrew Thornebrooke

Congressional Republicans have called for an investigation following the revelation that an aide to a Democratic lawmaker was fired for seeking to facilitate meetings on behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Washington.

Barbara Hamlett, who worked on Capitol Hill for 34 years, was a scheduler for Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) at the time she allegedly contacted several congressional staffers and attempted to arrange meetings between them and various officials working at the Chinese Embassy, the National Review reported.

After she allegedly requested one such meeting with a Republican staffer, a Republican office reported Hamlett to the House’s sergeant-at-arms, the report states. A review of her conduct determined that she had attempted to arrange the meetings for China.

The incident has incensed Republican leadership, which has denounced the creeping influence of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in American politics.

“The Chinese Communist Party wants to establish influence over every aspect of American life, especially our own government,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said in an email.

“I’m proud that my work in Congress has gotten me banned and sanctioned by the Chinese Communist Party. I hope it sends a clear message to Beijing that Washington will never be beholden to the Chinese Communist Party.”

Beyer’s office stated that it had no prior knowledge of Hamlett’s actions and acted promptly.

“Congressman Beyer was totally unaware of these activities prior to being contacted by the House sergeant-at-arms,” said Aaron Fritschner, Beyer’s deputy chief of staff, according to National Review.

“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 firing, however, wasn’t enough to prevent the incident from spilling over into next week’s midterm elections.

Karina Lipsman, Beyer’s Republican challenger in Virginia’s 8th Congressional District, has called for an investigation into the extent of the congressman’s ties to the CCP and whether Hamlett’s activities affected national security.

“The extent of Beyer‘s ties to the Chinese government needs to be determined, so the level of national security risk can be determined,” Lipsman said in a statement to The Washington Times. “His office has clearly been compromised.”

By Oct. 31, just three days after the incident was first reported, Lipsman’s campaign website boasted a new tab. Titled “The Beyer/China Situation,” the page accuses Beyer of being compromised by the CCP and unfit to continue his duties in Congress.

“Don Beyer has been compromised,” the page states. “Our district houses the Pentagon and the C.I.A. The reality is that he is no longer fit to hold office.

“This district, probably more than any other, keeps America safe. We can’t afford to have a question mark in office representing us.”

Beyer’s office and the House sergeant-at-arms didn’t respond by press time to requests by The Epoch Times for comment.

Andrew Thornebrooke is a national security correspondent for The Epoch Times covering China-related issues with a focus on defense, military affairs, and national security. He holds a master's in military history from Norwich University.
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