Staffer to Republican lawmaker working to defeat McConnell in GOP primary

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
Font Size:

A spokeswoman for a conservative congressman was spotted on Wednesday accompanying Kentucky Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell’s primary opponent to a press appearance, a sign that some conservative lawmakers may be mobilizing behind the scenes against the minority leader.

A source told The Daily Caller that Rachel Semmel, the spokeswoman for Rep. David Schweikert of Arizona, was seen on Wednesday morning “staffing” candidate Matt Bevin during a trip to the Fox News studios on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.

Bevin appeared Wednesday on the Fox News’ online show Power Play.

Responding to questions from TheDC on Wednesday afternoon, Semmel confirmed she is volunteering for Bevin but didn’t say whether Schweikert supports him.

She stressed that her volunteering for Bevin is separate from her official work in Congress.

“On my own time I volunteered to help the campaign,” Semmel said in an email. “No official resources were used. This is no different than McConnell Senate staffers volunteering for the campaign on their own time.”

Her volunteering draws attention to the grey area in ethics rules about congressional staffers working on campaigns. The House Ethics Committee allows for congressional staffers to help campaigns, as long as it is done on their “own time.”

Semmel was wearing her congressional ID, the source said. The television appearance occurred at about lunchtime on Wednesday.

“Once House employees have completed their official duties, they are free to engage in campaign activities on their own time, as volunteers or for pay, as long as they do not do so in congressional offices or facilities, or otherwise use official resources,” the committee explains on its website.

A Bevin campaign spokesman didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

Follow Alex on Twitter

Alex Pappas