Omar Ashmawy, head of the Office of Congressional Ethics office, tasked in 2015 with helping the House uphold ethical standards by investigating allegations of misconduct, is being sued for misconduct.
Ashmawy’s office conducts the preliminary investigations into allegations of misconduct in the House of Representatives, deciding which cases to pursue or refer to the Committee on Ethics.
Coming tino his position in 2015, he already had an issue.
According to Foreign Policy, the lawsuit revolves around an incident that took place in 2015 in Milford, Pennsylvania, where Ashmawy is alleged to have gotten into a brawl and then threatened others involved with criminal prosecution.
In a federal lawsuit filed last month, Ashmawy was accused of assaulting three women and using his position in the federal government as a way to influence local law enforcement, Foreign Policy reports.
According to the lawsuit, on Valentine’s Day 2015, Ashmawy was verbally abusive to two women, and physically assaulted two others.
According to a three-page statement dated March 12, 2015, Dawn Jorgenson said she witnessed Ashmawy “clearly sexually harassing” the bartender throughout the course of the evening and saw his behavior spiral toward physical violence. “You’ll give me drinks, but you won’t fuck me,” Ashmawy allegedly said to the bartender, according to Dawn Jorgenson’s written statement.
She also said she saw Ashmawy grab the bartender by the wrist. When she tried to intervene, he grabbed her by the wrist “so tightly that he falls down to the ground landing to the left of me.”
Jorgensen’s husband then came and dragged Ashmawy outside.
Ashmawy is also accused in the lawsuit of “threatening to use his position as staff director and chief counsel of the Office of Congressional Ethics to induce a criminal proceeding to be brought against Plaintiff and/or others,” according to the federal lawsuit filed against him.
In statements given to police, a third woman, Christina Floyd, provided a similar account. “I watched each time Omar would come down and verbally sexually harass the bartender as he ordered drinks,” Floyd wrote in her statement, describing an increasingly angry Ashmawy confronting the bartender.
“I am a 5 foot 3 woman who never knew this man. I was very scared of him and was afraid he’d come back around for weeks after,” Floyd wrote of Ashmawy in her statement to police dated March 14, 2015. “I have never had a man physically harm me or scare me in that matter. He was sexually harassing, abusing and I feared for my life.”
Months later, Jorgensen was charged with assaulting Ashmawy.
In addition to the assault, Ashmawy is being accused of using his position of power in Washington to exert influence over local law enforcement. It is said that he was using them to press assault charges against Jorgensen and two other men who allegedly attacked him. One of the other men also said he saw Ashmawy physically assaulting Dawn Jorgenson and Christina Floyd, another woman at the bar
“There is no hiding what happened to me from the people I interact with on a day to day basis. As a result, there are a growing number of individuals in the Washington, DC community who have taken an interest in this matter,” Ashmawy wrote in a March 2015 email to the police chief and officials in the district attorney’s office.
It is unclear why no charges were filed against Ashmawy despite police statements from the women who claimed he attacked them.
Ashmawy is a former Air Force officer who prosecuted two of the early post-9/11 military tribunal cases. He has been a rising star on Capitol Hill in recent years.
He was recently profiled in the Washington Post, which described his job overseeing “the first independent office in history charged with overseeing the Ethics of the House of Representatives.” He was also featured earlier this year in Politico’s “birthday of the day,” where he describes his job as helping the “House of Representatives uphold ethical standards by investigating allegations of misconduct by members, staff or officers of the House.”
According to the website of the OCE, the agency has pursued investigations into Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) and Del. Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam). Those cases, like that of John Conyers, began under Ashmawy and were referred to the Ethics Committee for further investigation.
The New York Times this week reported that Republicans are citing a 2015 decision by the Office of Congressional Ethics clearing Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas), who has also been accused of sexual harassment.
Isn’t this like the fox in charge of guarding the hen house? And he is still there? The Obama era is still not over.
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