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Entries in Rep. Alcee Hastings (3)

Wednesday
Jan112012

Rep. Alcee Hastings Ethics Investigation Extended

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- While a federal lawsuit continues, the House Ethics Committee announced Wednesday it will not conduct a full-blown investigation into allegations that Florida Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings sexually harassed a former employee and retaliated against her after she complained about it.

Reps. Jo Bonner and Linda Sanchez, the chairman and ranking member of the Ethics Committee, issued a joint statement Wednesday, expressing that while they will not impanel an investigative subcommittee, they will continue to review the case and gather additional information necessary to complete the review. The lawmakers have already once extended the committee’s review of the matter.

In a detailed statement on his website, Hastings took Wednesday’s news as a win, and emphasized that he “unequivocally” denies the allegations, which he called “completely false.”

The alleged harassment and retaliation began in 2008, according a public interest group that investigates government corruption, Judicial Watch, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of Winsome Packer.

Parker, a female employee who says she was repeatedly subjected to “unwelcome sexual advances,” “unwelcome touching” and retaliation, worked with Hastings when he was chairman of the United States Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission.  

Packer experienced, “insomnia, anxiety, depression, high-blood pressure, and developed symptoms of coronary artery disease,” as a direct result of the alleged sexual harassment, according to Judicial Watch, and at one point symptoms became so severe that she collapsed and was rushed to the emergency room.  Packer was subsequently prescribed medication and is under the care of a physician because of the severity of her heart problems.  

Hastings has repeatedly denied accusations, calling the allegations “ludicrous” and a “lie.” When news broke last spring that a lawsuit was filed U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, he vowed to be vindicated.

The Office of Congressional Ethics voted last September for the Ethics Committee to conduct a probe of Hastings. Further review of the ethics referral does not necessarily indicate the judgment of the committee whether any violation has actually occurred, and Hastings' political opponents are likely to cry foul over the delay.

Hastings, a former federal judge, was impeached by the House and, after a trial, removed from the bench by the Senate in 1989 for bribery and perjury.  He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1992.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun232011

Florida Lawmaker Faces Ethics Probe over Alleged Sexual Harassment

AlceeHastings [dot] House [dot] gov(WASHINGTON) -- Just when House Democrats thought they had the sexting scandal involving former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner behind them, another potential mess has surfaced.

There were reports Wednesday that Florida Congressman Alcee Hastings has been accused of sexual harassment by a former female staffer and that the 74-year-old lawmaker faces a House ethics probe over the charges.

The conservative group Judicial Watch, which filed a lawsuit against Hastings on behalf of Winsome Packer, said that the Office of Congressional Ethnics is well into an inquiry about the matter and will decide whether to recommend a further investigation by the House Ethics Committee.

Packer has accused Hastings of subjecting her to "unwelcome sexual advances" and "unwelcome touching" while she worked on the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, which the congressman chaired.

She also claims that Hastings and staff directors threatened to retaliate against her if she reported the alleged sexual harassment.

Responding to the lawsuit when it was filed last March, Hastings asserted that it was filled with "inaccuracies" and said in a statement, "I have never sexually harassed anyone.  In fact, I am insulted that these ludicrous allegations are being made against me.  When all the facts are known in this case, the prevailing sentiment will be, 'How bizarre!'"

Nonetheless, Hastings has had previous troubles involving ethics charges.  In 1989, he was impeached and convicted by the Florida Senate for bribery and perjury, losing his job as a U.S. District Judge.  During a criminal trial in the same case, Hastings won acquittal when his alleged co-conspirator refused to testify against him.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar072011

Democratic Florida Congressman Denies Sexual Harassment Charges

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A Democratic congressman is denying accusations that he repeatedly sexually harassed an employee over the course of two years, calling the allegations “ludicrous” and a “lie. He vowed he will be vindicated and will win a lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Rep. Alcee Hastings issued a statement declaring his innocence Monday afternoon after Judicial Watch, a public interest group that investigates government corruption, filed a lawsuit on behalf of Winsome Packer, a female employee who says she was repeatedly subjected to “unwelcome sexual advances,” “unwelcome touching” and retaliation.

“I have never sexually harassed anyone,” Hastings, a 10-term Democrat from Florida, said in a statement Monday afternoon.  “In fact, I am insulted that these ludicrous allegations are being made against me. When all the facts are known in this case, the prevailing sentiment will be, ‘How bizarre!’”

The alleged harassment and retaliation began in 2008, according to Judicial Watch, when Hastings was chairman of the United States Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission.  The commission is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit, as is its former staff director, Fred Turner.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 







ABC News Radio