Add another ignoble credential to Rep. Nancy Mace’s résumé.
As of Monday, according to three sources familiar with the matter, Mace’s entire D.C. staff has turned over since Nov. 1, 2023.
That’s nine staffers in the span of a few short months—with all but one of those employees leaving on their own accord.
The lone exception to those eight staffers who left Mace’s office on their own accord is now-former chief of staff Dan Hanlon, who was fired on Dec. 1. Hanlon has subsequently filed to run against Mace in her South Carolina district.
As for the rest of her former staff, they all quit. That includes her deputy chief of staff Richard Chalkey, her legislative director Randal Meyer, communications director Will Hampson, a financial adviser, a staff assistant, two legislative assistants, and her military legislative assistant. And from what the departed staffers told The Daily Beast, there was good reason to leave.
Former Mace employees described a “toxic” work environment.
But in response to questions about the dramatic turnover, Mace’s new chief of staff, Lori Khatod, presented the complete turnover as a “non-issue.”
“New coach, new team in the DC office,” Khatod said in a text message.
Former staffers who spoke with The Daily Beast on the condition of anonymity, however, told a very different story.
“The member was abusive,” one former senior staffer told The Daily Beast, specifically pointing to the frequency with which Mace would communicate with her staff, either over text, Signal, or Monday.com—an unauthorized software system Mace uses in her office.
This former staffer said Mace uses the software to “micromanage the office all day and into the night and early morning.”
“It was constant,” this person said.
Another senior staffer recalled how Mace called them close to midnight on Christmas Eve and demanded to know why she wasn’t getting on TV more during the holiday week.
“If she needed us, we had to answer within eight minutes,” this staffer said, clarifying that the eight minute timeframe was actually a “rule.”
“Nancy is delusional as a boss,” the former staffer continued. “She says nothing publicly without her consultants or senior staffers telling her to, but takes credit for everything. She’s a walking teleprompter.”
The former staffer added that Mace “has no idea what it actually means to be a member of Congress and is too scared and self-conscious to deal with other people, so she accomplished nothing.”
“All this is why pretty much every staffer and fellow member on the Hill thinks she’s a joke,” this ex-employee said. “Also a big reason why she’s only able to hire former George Santos staffers right now.”
(Mace recently hired Santos’ former communications director to serve her office in that role.)
More broadly, these staffers described Mace’s office as grueling and thankless. She created a “demoralizing environment for staff,” as one of her other former senior employees put it.
Multiple former employees specifically complained about Mace’s propensity to ensure everyone was working all the time. Even on Good Friday, when some staff just wanted to take an hour off to go to Mass in the late afternoon, Mace wouldn’t have it, two former senior staffers said. (The House was adjourned at the time.)
“For Mace it was all about control,” one of the previously mentioned former staffers said. “She didn’t see the staff as people but as property.”
A more recent demoralizing incident was when the new chief of staff, Khatod, tried to send the D.C. employees home early one day in early December. For the staff that hung back, they were treated to a bizarre show.
It turns out that Khatod had called the Capitol Police on Hanlon, who had been fired just days before. Politico, which first wrote on the incident, reported that Hanlon had been in the office earlier to return his keys, but it wasn’t clear to these staffers who talked to The Daily Beast whether Hanlon was actually on Capitol Hill at the time of the call.
When Khatod came back to the office and realized not all the staff had left as she instructed, she didn’t hide her displeasure, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
Staffers had no idea why Khatod had called Capitol Police on Hanlon—it could have been over Hanlon taking an office popcorn machine on his way out—but many former employees were disturbed by the incident.
“At that moment, I felt the most unsafe I ever had on the Hill, when I realized she was using the Capitol Police to intimidate staff,” one witness to the event told The Daily Beast.
The incident quickly spread within the office and left many other staffers feeling rattled and uncomfortable, two sources said. It was that moment which cemented in some of their minds that they were going to quit.
Mace’s office would not delve into specifics about the Capitol Police incident or the intense work demands.
“Like most offices, we do not discuss internal processes,” Khatod said in a statement in response to these specific allegations. “We adhere and accommodate employees whose sincerely held religious beliefs, practices or observances conflict with regular work requirements.”
This, of course, isn’t the first time Mace has faced criticism from ex-employees. One of her former staffers, who previously served as her communications director, has been on a crusade to detail Mace’s self-serving ways. And one woman who ran into Mace in the airport recently reportedly overheard her screaming at a staff member, telling this person to clean up press reports that her office was “toxic.”
While Mace’s new office can dispute her former staff’s characterizations of the work culture, what the congresswoman can’t dispute is the numbers.
Professor Casey Burgat, the legislative affairs program director at George Washington University, told The Daily Beast that “disproportionately high turnover signals that staff are incredibly unhappy.”
“It's a ridiculously high number, just out of the ordinary,” said Burgat, who has studied congressional staff turnover patterns and has testified before Congress on some of his findings. “I would be shocked if you found any other Representative or senator with even close to that high of a turnover in such a short amount of time.”
A Mace staff handbook previously obtained by The Daily Beast detailed how her staff was required to book her on a national TV outlet between one and three times per day, and how each staffer had to come up with draft tweets for the congresswoman.
According to the handbook, Mace also held her staff to the standard of passing 10 bills on the House floor every year—which would be an incredible clip for a backbench member—and filing 25 new bills.
During her three years in office, Mace has had one bill signed into law: a measure renaming a post office on Hilton Head Island.