With Al Franken and John Conyers gone from public office for sexual abuse, is Democrat Representative Alcee Hastings next?
On Friday, it was released that the Treasury Department paid $220,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by a former congressional staffer alleging sexual harassment by Hastings.
The Florida Congressman claims he knew nothing about the payout, but did not deny the allegations.
According to Roll Call, which cited documents related to the case, Winsome Packer alleged that Hastings touched her inappropriately and made unwanted sexual advances. On one occasion, Packer said Hastings asked her what kind of underwear she was wearing.
The pattern has been, one allegation first, then women come out of the woodwork, and then resignation.
As with Franken and Conyers, the Hastings paper trail provides proof, something no one has been able to present against Senate candidate Roy Moore from Alabama. #Just Sayin’
Packer, a staffer on the congressional Helsinki Commission that Hastings once chaired, filed a lawsuit in 2011 against Hastings and the commission, which is officially known as the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. A federal judge dismissed the claims against Hastings, but not the commission, in 2012.
Packer said in documents that the congressman touched her, made unwanted sexual advances, and threatened her job. At the time, Hastings was the chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, where Packer worked.
Hastings has called Packer’s charges “ludicrous” and in documents said he never sexually harassed her.
“Until this evening, I had not seen the settlement agreement between the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) and Ms. Packer,” the congressman said in a statement Friday night. “This matter was handled solely by the Senate Chief Counsel for Employment. At no time was I consulted, nor did I know until after the fact that such a settlement was made.”
“Until this evening, I had not seen the settlement agreement between the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) and Ms. Packer,” Hastings said in a statement sent to The Palm Beach Post. “This matter was handled solely by the Senate Chief Counsel for Employment. At no time was I consulted, nor did I know until after the fact that such a settlement was made. The lawsuit that Ms. Packer filed against me was dismissed on February 14, 2012, just as the House Committee on Ethics investigation was also dismissed on December 11, 2014. I am outraged that any taxpayer dollars were needlessly paid to Ms. Packer.”
Packer stated that she was forced to endure unwelcome sexual advances. She claims that Hastings made many crude sexual comments. She also stated that she was forced to endure unwanted touching from Hastings. She also claimed that Hastings retaliated against her after she complained.
Hastings was cleared in 2012 by the Ethics Committee but the final report stated that Hastings “admitted to certain conduct that is less than professional.”
Hastings “hugs many people frequently,” the report said, and while a hug “on its own, is not sexual harassment … hugging is not the most professional way to greet coworkers, and different individuals have different comfort levels for touching others.”
The ethics report also said Hastings showed “poor judgment” when he admitted to comments “about not being able to sleep after sex, and another about female Members of Congress wearing the same underwear all day.”
Documents indicate the OOC approved a $220,000 settlement to be paid to Packer by the Treasury Department, which issues payments to settle disputes involving lawmakers, according to documents obtained by Roll Call. Packer appears to have received a payment of that amount from the Treasury Department in May 2014, according to documents.
The real question will be…
Are there more women out there?
My question is, “What did Nancy Pelsoi know and when did she know it?”
The settlement involving the accusations against Hastings raises more questions about the secretive and convoluted way Congress handles employee complaints of sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination.
Recent reports have indicated that lawmakers can bypass official congressional offices to resolve disputes. Conyers resigned this week after revelations that he had paid a staff member who had accused him of harassment $27,000 out of his office account.
The last question is: “When will this end?”
How many more members on Capitol Hill are going to go down? Are there more victims that were paid to stay quiet by the taxpayer?
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