Panel reviewing whether Virginia lawmaker used staff to run errands

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. administers the House oath of office to Rep. Tom Garrett, R-Va., during a mock swearing in ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017, as the 115th Congress began. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Ethics Committee is reviewing an allegation that Republican congressman Tom Garrett of Virginia used congressional staff to perform personal errands.

The committee’s chairman and ranking Democratic lawmaker said in a news release Tuesday that the committee got a referral from the independent Office of Congressional Ethics dated Sept. 5.

That office had interviewed several of the congressman’s aides and concluded that “Garrett and his wife requested extensive personal errands and unofficial work” from congressional staff.

The office investigates complaints from the public, but only the House Ethics Committee has the power to punish a lawmaker for wrongdoing.

Garrett is a first-term lawmaker who did not seek re-election. He said he needed to work on recovering from alcoholism and renewing his commitment to his family.

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