Virginia GOP House candidate Karina Lipsman said her opponent in November’s election, Democrat Rep. Don Beyer, should be stripped of certain committee assignments after an investigation found a now-former aide of his had worked with the Chinese Embassy.
An investigation conducted by the House Sergeant at Arms discovered that Barbara Hamlett, who had worked as a scheduler in Beyer’s office, had been working on behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C., to set up meetings with congressional offices. Beyer fired her after he was notified of the findings on Tuesday.
Lipsman, a 14-year member of the U.S. defense and intelligence community, also called for a Congressional investigation into the matter to determine the extent to which national security has been compromised.
“I have been part of investigations on sensitive national security subjects before, and it’s very clear to me that, based on what we know, this matter must be thoroughly investigated by Congress,” Lipsman said in a statement to FOX News Digital.
The Republican Ukrainian immigrant also compared the situation to Rep. Eric Swalwell’s, D-Calif., past intimate relationship with a Chinese spy named Fang Fang, who reportedly was involved in fundraising for the congressman’s 2014 reelection campaign. The Chinese national did not make donations and there was no evidence of illegal contributions.
“This is a similar situation as the one Rep. Eric Swalwell found himself in — Swalwell should be removed from the House Intelligence Committee, and Don Beyer should be removed from the House Ways and Means Committee, which handles international trade and all free trade agreements, as well as the Joint Economic Committee,” Lipsman said.
“The extent of Beyer’s office’s ties to the Chinese government needs to be determined, so the level of national security risk can be determined,” she continued. “His office has clearly been compromised. Again, I’ve held top-level security clearances for years and this situation is well within my experience. It needs to be treated extremely seriously.”
And in a Twitter thread, Lipsman noted that Virginia’s eighth congressional district that Beyer represents is home to the Pentagon and CIA. The district comprises Arlington County, parts of Fairfax County and the entirety of the cities of Alexandria and Falls Church.
“This district, probably more than any other, keeps America safe,” she wrote.
Beyer’s office said the congressman was “totally unaware” of Hamlett’s behavior before he was contacted by the Sergeant At Arms.
“As soon as he learned of them, he followed every directive he was given by security officials,” Beyer’s deputy chief of staff Aaron Fritschner told National Review. “The staffer in question is no longer employed by the office of Congressman Beyer.”
Hamlett had allegedly contacted congressional staffers through emails, phone calls and office visits to invite them to meetings and lunches on behalf of officials for the Chinese Embassy.
Two of the meetings were requested in the context of meals, including one at the Charlie Palmer Steak located near the Capitol.
After the meeting requests, staffers at congressional offices became alarmed and notified the Sergeant at Arms to investigate. The Sergeant at Arms reportedly contacted federal counterintelligence authorities about the matter.