Areport from Roll Call claimed Friday that Rep. Alcee L. Hastings (D-Fla.) was accused of sexual harassment and the settlement cost the taxpayer $220,000.
A former congressional staff member named Winsome Packer claimed that the representative “touched her, made unwanted sexual advances, and threatened her job.”
She was stationed in Vienna and was required to travel with Hastings to other foreign countries. She said in her lawsuit that Hastings repeatedly asked to stay at her apartment or to visit her hotel room. Packer also said he frequently hugged her, and once asked her what kind of underwear she was wearing.
Packer filed a complaint with the Office of Compliance in 2010, and sued Hastings in 2011. In 2012, the lawsuit was dismissed and an ethics investigation in the matter was dismissed in 2014.
Hastings called the accusations “ludicrous” in a statement to Roll Call Friday, and claimed that he wasn’t even aware of the settlement until until recently.
“Until this evening, I had not seen the settlement agreement between the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) and Ms. Packer,” he said. “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.”
“I am outraged that any taxpayer dollars were needlessly paid to Ms. Packer,” he said.
I find it hard to believe that this woman is accusing Hastings of sexual harassment in very specific situations, and she was paid out a very substantial amount for her lawsuit, over $200,000 dollars of taxpayer money, and Hastings had no idea this happened.
According to Packer’s testimony Hastings repeatedly harassed her, asked to stay in her hotel room, asked her about her underwear, I find it hard to believe that if she was making all this up, she was entitled to $200,000.