Labeled One of D.C.'s 'Worst Bosses,' Lawmaker Says Her Style Is 'Not For Everyone' as Aides Speak Out

"I'm grateful to my current and former staff. I work extremely hard at a pace that is not for everyone. I remain focused on working hard for the people of Indiana," Rep. Victoria Spartz said

Ukrainian-American U.S. Rep. Victoria Spartz
Victoria Spartz. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Indiana Rep. Victoria Spartz says her working style is "not for everyone" amid anonymous allegations of a punishing work environment and claims that she called former staffers "idiots."

Citing interviews with eight people, "including more than a half-dozen former staffers as well as Republicans familiar with her office dynamics," Politico reported in a Friday story that the environment in Spartz's office is nothing short of toxic.

Speaking to the outlet, one former staffer said the "common theme" in the Indiana lawmaker's office was, "Staffers do their job, and then Victoria comes in saying that they have no idea what they're doing, that they are morons, calling them 'idiots.' Senior staff was amazing. That staff was really trauma bonded … we've all been through some s---."

Those interviewed for the story claimed that Spartz compared the writing skills of her own aides to that of elementary school students, telling them her children were more talented.

Three of the former staffers claimed the Republican lawmaker had also avoided firing aides and instead bullied them until they left.

Elsewhere in the article, former staff said that as a coping trick they began making audio recordings of Spartz's demands with her knowledge — because, they claimed, she would later change her mind or tell them they got her demands wrong.

Rep. Victoria Spartz
Victoria Spartz. Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Asked for comment, the 43-year-old lawmaker told the outlet: "I'm grateful to my current and former staff. I work extremely hard at a pace that is not for everyone. I remain focused on working hard for the people of Indiana." (Spartz's office did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.)

Spartz was No. 1 on Legistorm's list of "Worst Bosses" on Capitol Hill in 2021. The list is based on high turnover rates.

One ex-aide told Politico: "The reason for [former staffers] departing after a short time was because of her," calling the lawmaker's workplace behavior "manic."

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Spartz, who won an uncontested primary on Tuesday ahead of her likely reelection this fall, came to Congress in 2021 and was the first Ukrainian immigrant elected to the House of Representatives. She previously served in Indiana's state Senate.

The claims about Spartz come at a time of low morale on Capitol Hill, which some congressional aides said in interviews with The Washington Post in February had been exacerbated by the pandemic and the political divisiveness following the pro-Trump Capitol riots of Jan. 6, 2021.

Claims of staff diversity issues, intense hours, and low pay punctuate the anonymous accounts of workplace toxicity on the Instagram account @dear_white_staffers, which went viral in recent months for what it describes as an insider look at life as a staffer on Capitol Hill.

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