Taxpayers Shell Out $220K For Another Dem’s Sexual Harassment Settlement
(TeaParty.org)– Just as the American taxpayer was finished reeling from outrage after John Conyers Jr. settled his sexual harassment lawsuit using taxpayer money, another Democrat has been caught in the same dirty act.
Up next is Democratic Congressman Alcee Hastings, accused of harassment and the unwanted touching of Republican staffer Winsome Packer, who was on the United States Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. Hastings claims that he was not aware of the settlement and that he is outraged that taxpayer money was used to pay off the staffer.
“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,” he said,according to Roll Call. “I am outraged that any taxpayer dollars were needlessly paid to Ms. [Winsome] Packer.”
The lawsuit was filed in 2011 by Judicial Watch, a public interest group. In the lawsuit, a former staffer on the United States Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, Packer, alleges she was the victim of “unwelcome sexual advances” and “unwelcome touching” by then-chairman Hastings.
Packer also claimed retaliation by the congressman and his staff director, Fred Turner, who also was named in the suit. The conservative judicial watchdog charged that Packer was unfairly targeted because she was a Republican serving in a commission ruled by Democrats.
This wasn’t the first time that Hastings has had a run in with the law. He was formerly a federal judge in a district court in his home state of Florida. In 1988, he was impeached by the House for bribery and perjury, and was later removed from the bench by the Senate. He was only the sixth federal judge in the history of this country to be removed from the bench by the Senate.
The lawsuit against Hastings in 2011 was filed by Judicial Watch. At the time, Tom Fitton, who still heads Judicial Watch, said the following:
“The allegations against Alcee Hastings as detailed in this complaint are outrageous. For two years Hastings subjected Ms. Packer to a never-ending barrage of unwanted sexual advances. And when Ms. Packer tried, time and again, to put a stop to it, he resorted to threats and intimidation to force her compliance. Even after Hastings’ behavior caused Ms. Packer’s physical collapse, he would not relent. We look forward to holding Alcee Hastings and the other defendants accountable for their unlawful behavior in court.”
Ms. Packer says that she was sexually harassed by Hastings from 2008 to 2010 and that when she complained about it, Hastings and Commission Staff Director Fred Turner made threats against her, including termination.
The news about Hastings comes at the same time that sexual assault allegations have exploded in the Congress, leading to resignations by several of its members. In addition to Conyers’ scandal, Senator Al Franken was accused by several women of grabbing their breasts and butts. There is a picture of Franken cupping the breasts of a woman that had gone on a trip for the USO to entertain the troops. Taxpayers also paid out $84,000 for sexual harassment charges against Republican Blake Farenthold.
Both Conyers and Franken have resigned from the House and Senate respectively. All told, the taxpayers have footed $17 million out in settlements. Judicial Watch and others have filed Freedom of Information Act lawsuits to get the complete list of all payouts made on behalf of congressmen and possibly women. What they find out could further shock and outrage Americans, and spark a fire for more reform.