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Dem Staffer Fired for Setting Up Secret Meetings Between Other Aides and the Chinese Embassy

AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File

Engaging in such an activity without your boss’ knowledge will get you fired—that’s a universal rule. On the Hill, trying to secretly set up meetings between other congressional offices and the Chinese embassy will surely land you a pink slip. That’s what happened in the office of Virginia Democratic Congressman Don Beyer: his scheduler was fired for setting up covert rendezvous with at least two congressional aides and the Chinese. This staffer wasn’t privy to national security secrets, so there are no spy games here. It’s just someone who decided not to stay in their lane and got pinched for it.


Beyer’s staffer wasn’t some rookie on the Hill but a 34-year veteran. The investigation into the scheduler’s activities was swift, as Beyer was informed of these little meetings by the House Sergeant at Arms last Tuesday, which prompted an immediate review that concluded the next day confirming the allegations (via Daily Caller):

A staffer for Democratic Virginia Rep. Don Beyer was fired this week for allegedly working on behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Washington to set up meetings with other Congressional aides, according to a National Review report.

The staffer, Barbara Hamlett, allegedly reached out to other Congressional staffers and attempted to arrange meetings between them and Chinese Embassy officials for at least several months, National Review reported. Beyer quickly fired Hamlett after he learned of the allegations against her and investigated.

“While Congressman Beyer had no inkling of this staffer’s actions and acted promptly upon learning of them, he understands that his constituents may be shocked to learn of this, just as he was,” Beyer’s deputy chief of staff Aaron Fritschner said. “He pledges to them that he will remain a fierce critic of China’s record, continue to oppose the CCP’s totalitarian repression of its citizens, and hold himself and his staff to the highest professional and ethical standards. 


One staffer said Hamlett called his office and then showed up in person after he had turned down multiple meeting requests from the Chinese Embassy regarding one of their boss’s bills. She attempted to arrange a lunch, and the staffer agreed to coffee. Hamlett attended the meeting but sat at a separate table with another embassy staffer, while the Congressional aide met one-on-one with another.


Again, it’s never a good idea to try and arrange things without your boss’ approval, especially meetings with foreign governments. What was this woman thinking?

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