GOP aide leaving job after helping McConnell challenger

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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An aide to a Republican lawmaker is leaving her job after The Daily Caller reported on Wednesday that she has been volunteering on the side for the GOP challenger to Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell.

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

By Wednesday evening, Schweikert’s chief of staff, Oliver Schwab, responded to the article by telling multiple people that Semmel would soon be leaving Schweikert’s office and emphasized her volunteering for Bevin did not reflect the congressman’s “goals or values,” the source said.

Schwab did not immediately respond to an email and phone call.

But in an email Thursday, Semmel disputed the notion she lost her job over her volunteering. “Yikes,” Semmel said. “Sounds like your sources are bad. Not true.”

Instead, Semmel said she accepted a job with Bevin’s campaign, something that has been in the works before The Daily Caller report.

“I took the job and informed my boss several weeks ago,” she said.

On Wednesday afternoon, Semmel confirmed to TheDC that she was volunteering for Bevin but didn’t say whether Schweikert supported him too.

“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.”

Representatives for Bevin didn’t respond to requests for comment on Semmel on Wednesday or Thursday.

Reached by TheDC, McConnell’s campaign declined to comment.

Chris Baker, a consultant for Schweikert, also disputed the suggestion that Semmel lost her job. He first said the notion that she is “no longer being employed by Schweikert” is  “100 percent NOT TRUE.” But he then admitted she is leaving to take a Bevin campaign job.

“I can tell you without any caveats that if someone is saying that she is transitioning out due to volunteering they are completely full of shit,” Baker said in an email.

Baker added: “Let me be very clear here. If and when Rachel choses to leave David’s office, it will be 100 percent voluntary on her part. Rachel remains just as valued by David today as she was two days ago or two years ago for that matter. Her ‘volunteering’ has not changed that.”

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Alex Pappas