Report Details 'Onerous' Rules for Sinema Staffers

Daily Beast has instructions that cover everything from senator's eating schedule to travel 'minefield'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 22, 2022 10:15 AM CST
Report Details 'Onerous' Rules for Sinema Staffers
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., is seen Sept. 14 on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Kyrsten Sinema, the senator from Arizona who announced earlier this month that she's leaving the Democratic Party to register as an independent, "stands apart" from other senators who've taken a similar route, per Intelligencer, which dives into the ways she differs from those party-switching counterparts. The Daily Beast may have yet another: "a dizzying array of do's and don'ts" arranged in a 37-page internal memo that's apparently meant for Sinema's staffers, and that may "go right up to the line of what Senate ethics rules allow, if not over." The document, which the Beast notes "is at least a couple of years old but could still reflect current policies," details what some staffers found to be "onerous" hoops they had to jump through to aid Sinema in her day-to-day schedule:

  • "Do not schedule anything, ever, outside of 'regular' work hours without first getting Kyrsten's permission," the document states. "Kyrsten works hard, but is protective of her personal time," which includes "time-consuming commitments outside of this job."
  • Sinema doesn't begin work before 8:45am, and staffers shouldn't schedule her for anything after 8pm, after which she's "often not reachable"—a point the Beast says "would make her highly unusual among US senators."
  • The senator's eating schedule is also meticulously detailed, down to the windows during the day when she must eat: "Due to her very high level of activity, she is always hungry and needs to consume a lot of protein each day."
  • Staff should also always have a water bottle at room temperature available for her, as "KS drinks A LOT of water."
  • The memo's section on Sinema's air travel is "a veritable minefield of opportunities for a junior staffer to get crosswise with the boss," per the Beast, with comprehensive particulars on exactly where on the plane she should be seated (e.g., no middle seat if at all possible, no bulkhead row, specific instructions for preferences on certain window/aisle seats).
  • A former aide tells the Beast that Sinema also required a booking each week for a massage, even if that meant she had to shirk work in the middle of the day. "When I look back, it's unbelievable the amount of time staffers spent just to accommodate her," that aide tells the Beast.

The outlet quotes Senate ethics guidelines regarding staffers' duties, which are meant to concentrate solely on helping their bosses "in their official legislative and representational duties," not for personal matters. A rep from the nonprofit Public Citizen tells the outlet that such mandates as those listed in the memo would be a clear breach of Senate ethics rules. Sinema spokesperson Hannah Hurley tells the Beast, which didn't provide her with a copy of the memo to protect the person who sent it, 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." Hurley adds that the document "does not represent official policies" of said office, which "does not require staff to perform personal errands." More here on other apparent demands. (More Kyrsten Sinema stories.)

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