For young men and women with ambitions toward a career in politics, working in a Congressional office can be a heady, almost dreamlike experience. Left unsupervised, the combination of youthful indiscretion and close proximity to the nation’s levers of power produces results that can be ugly, messy and embarrassing for senior staff and even the representatives voters send to the Capitol to do the people’s work.
Over several months, according to online messages allegedly made by staffers with Democratic Congressman Rick Larsen, the D.C. office of Washington State’s 2nd District has been the setting of a staffers-gone-wild bash, a binge of embarrassing behavior including insults lobbed by legislative aides at the Congressman himself and accounts of on-the-job drinking, all broadcast for the world to see on via Twitter.
To be fair, the office of a Congressman in the minority party is not typically the scene of frantic legislative action. Sure, there’s still work to be done servicing constituent requests, or stitching together the details of a minor piece of legislation to help the folks back in the district may be work. But unlike a couple of years ago when the Democrats were in charge, and aides would have been busy preparing a $3.5 trillion budget, or reading, analyzing, and fine-tuning 2,000-page bills to upend the world’s finest healthcare and financial services industries, apparently the current workload isn’t substantial enough to keep junior staffers attentions focused on professional matters.
NW Daily Marker learned of the succession of tweets made by three members of Larsen’s legislative staff – Seth Burroughs, legislative assistant (@therocketship1); Elizabeth Robblee, legislative assistant (@betsysbites); and Ben Byers, legislative correspondent (@byers_remorse) – messages dating from between August and early December of this year.
Though the tweets were made (and are continuing to be made) from personal – not official congressional – accounts, the messages describe on-the-job drinking, frivolous misuse of office time and resources, and contain public insults aimed at the boss himself – Congressman Larsen. If accurate, the tweets – made during and after working hours – raises questions about whether Larsen and his senior staff are paying close enough attention to the workplace behavior of personnel on the public payroll.
Note: Some of the messages are not safe for work. Please scroll down only if you are in appropriate setting to view them.
One of the more notable tweets was made on December 3rd by Burroughs in which he confides in Byers that he has “destroyed” his official Blackberry smartphone device and remarks that “D2R is making its mark.”
‘D2R’ is an acronym meaning ‘December to Remember,’ a phrase coined by the trio of staffers to define their attempt to spend the final month of the year in a state of perpetual debauchery. According to tweets made two days earlier, the D2R was initiated with a morning round of shots on the steps of the Cannon House Office Building before proceeding to drink all day in the office.
Of course, it isn’t necessary to drink in the office when you just plain show up drunk, as Burroughs appears to brag of doing:
In addition to providing details and a play-by-play account of on-the-job drinking, during a summer recess, Burroughs described whiling away the hours in pursuits of dubious value to the constituents of Washington’s 2nd District.
Burroughs also spent a great deal of time publicly insulting Larsen, and making statements that imply his colleagues were casting their own fair share of insults toward the Congressman:
Funny enough, Burroughs had been warned about his Twitter exhibitionism by his mother:
I suppose at least Mom was making an effort to rein in her little staffer, even if Congressman Larsen wasn’t.
[Note: The original article misspelled the name of one of the former Larsen staffers. The correct spelling is reflected in the story as it now appears.]