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Politico: Ukraine-born Congresswoman Spartz under preliminary inquiry due to allegations of abuse of staff

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk June 5, 2024 8:52 AM 2 min read
Victoria Spartz, who represents the Republican Party in the U.S. House of Representatives, attends a news conference in Rayburn Building, Washington D.C., on March 1, 2022. (Getty Images)
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Republican Congresswoman Victoria Spartz, the first female member of the U.S. Congress born in Ukraine, is under a preliminary inquiry by the House Ethics Committee due to allegations of abusive treatment of staff and "general toxicity," Politico reported on June 4.

Spartz won the Republican primary in her district of Indiana on May 7, beating back eight challengers to secure a place on the ballot for the November election. As her district in Indiana is solidly Republican, she is favored to win reelection.

The complaints against Spartz were made before the primary, but the Ethics Committee did not launch a formal investigation until after the race was over due to the "potential appearance of meddling in the election," Politico said, citing a current and a former aide who made the complaints.

In 2022, Politico named Spartz the "worst boss" in the House of Representatives due to repeated allegations of an "unhealthy work environment" in her office. Former staffers described Spartz as an "unpredictable boss whose temper can rocket from tepid to boiling."

"Her behavior appears not to have changed much since," Politico said, with Spartz allegedly unleashing "verbal abuse to Ethics (Committee) investigators," according to aides who spoke to Politico under the condition of anonymity.

Spartz's chief of staff, Patrick Slowinski, and Michael Stevens, her communications director, both resigned on June 4, a person familiar with the matter told Politico.

Slowinski had resigned a month into his job, while Stevens had been working for Spartz since January.  

Two people told Politico that Ethics Committee staffers have so far "interviewed at least three additional current or former staffers about the office culture as well as alleged misuse of taxpayer resources."

Spartz was born in a small city in Chernihiv Oblast and moved to the U.S. in 2000. She is known for her staunch support of former President Donald Trump.

In the aftermath of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Spartz supported aid for Ukraine and spoke about the war in deeply personal terms, but also attracted controversy for her attacks against President Volodymyr Zelensky and head of the Presidential Office, Andriy Yermak.

Spartz shifted her stance on Ukraine over the following years and grew increasingly critical of U.S. aid for the country. She began to call for more "accountability" for the funding and was among the 112 Republicans in Congress who voted against $61 billion in aid to Ukraine in April.

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