A newly-revealed alleged 37-page staffer guide for Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) has raised concerns among ethics experts that she might be crossing the line in terms of the tasks that she allegedly demands of her staff.
The memo, obtained by The Daily Beast, is effectively a long list of dos and don’ts for staffers to follow to meet all of Sinema’s demands.
The memo instructs staff to contact Sinema at the start of every week to “ask if she needs groceries” and to respond to the proper staff notifying them that the tasks have been completed. The staff are reimbursed through CashApp.
Staffers are instructed to set up maintenance repairs at a private apartment if internet service goes down and to make sure that they are on the property to let in repair workers.
Ethics experts told the publication that the memo could run afoul of Senate ethics rules, which state that “staff are compensated for the purpose of assisting senators in their official legislative and representational duties, and not for the purpose of performing personal or other nonofficial activities for themselves or on behalf of others.”
The memo says that Sinema “is protective of her personal time” because she has “time-consuming commitments outside of this job,” which largely consist of her personal hobbies and her job teaching at Arizona State University.
“Do not schedule anything, ever, outside of ‘regular’ work hours without first getting Kyrsten’s permission,” the document reads. “She will very, very rarely agree to work outside the regular hours, so only ask if it’s a big deal.”
Sinema allegedly does not start work before 8 a.m. and will not work after 8 p.m., which the report noted is rare for a U.S. Senator.
Much of what was released from the memo details the importance of Sinema’s fitness regimen and how that shapes what staffers should do, from not scheduling her for events on the weekends until at least 1 p.m. in the afternoon to making sure she eats at certain times throughout the day and that there is always water on hand.
Take, for example, the section about booking flights for her, which states that it is the staff’s job to “make her as comfortable as possible on each flight.”
That section of the memo states:
KS has Executive Platinum status on AMERICAN AIRLINES and sometimes receives an automatic upgrade to first class. Do not rely on this; in the event that she does not get upgraded, it is important that she have a seat she is comfortable with.
First choice: KS prefers an aisle seat as close to the front of the plane as possible, except that she DOES NOT want the bulkhead row. Those seats are smaller than regular seats and are crowded. She also doesn’t want the seat next to/directly in front of the bathroom on planes where there’s a bathroom in the middle of the plane. Look at the seat map for every flight you book, or ask the booking agent about the flight map if you’re reserving over the phone.
KS generally prefers to be closer to the front in a window seat, than further back in an aisle. It saves her time getting off the plane earlier.
Next choice: if you can’t get an aisle seat, get a window seat using the same guidelines as above. This shouldn’t happen often, since you’re booking most flights six weeks in advance.
Last resort: Do everything in your power not put her in a middle seat. If the circumstances are such that a middle seat is the ONLY option, make sure you email KS to let her know and also provide some information about other flights she might be able to take instead that have better seating options. Don’t book so late that middle seats are all that’s left.
Sinema’s office responded to the report by saying that “the alleged information—sourced from anonymous quotes and a purported document I can’t verify—is not in line with official guidance from Sen. Sinema’s office and does not represent official policies of Sen. Sinema’s office.”