A former North Carolina Democratic Party staffer was sexually harassed by a party official, made a financial settlement with the party and signed a non-disclosure agreement to keep the incident quiet, according to emails obtained by The Daily Caller.
“If this hits the media, the Democratic Party, our candidates, and our credibility are doomed in this election,” reads one email exchange between state Democratic leaders.
An email chain between those Democratic leaders, obtained by The Daily Caller, indicates the executive director of the North Carolina Democratic Party, Jay Parmley, and the alleged sexual harassment victim both signed non-disclosure agreements.
The email chain does not make clear who was guilty of the alleged harassment, the status of that individual’s employment with the Democratic Party or the identity of the victim.
State Democratic Party spokesman Walton Robinson did not respond to The Daily Caller’s request for comment on the matter.
President Obama’s re-election team views North Carolina as an important state in the president’s campaign and Charlotte, N.C. is the site of this year’s Democratic National Convention.
In the email chain, North Carolina Democratic statehouse candidate Watt Jones complained about the lack of what he considers competent staffers in the state party.
Though North Carolina Democratic Party chairman David Parker claimed in one email that a supposed ongoing staff exodus was due to staffers leaving for “greener pastures” during the campaign season, Jones rebutted that assertion.
“In regards to the personnel issues, certain staff leaving for ‘greener grass’ is not the issue,” Jones wrote to Parker. “In fact, some of those staffers who have recently left have also privately spoke of frustration at things occurring within Goodwin House [the North Carolina Democratic Party headquarters].”
Jones said that those “personnel issues coming from Goodwin House are now related to allegations of ‘harassment,’ sexual or otherwise, involving staff.”
He went on to explain how the alleged sexual harassment going on within the Democratic Party’s North Carolina headquarters could be detrimental to the party and may even directly contradict the Democrats’ own immediate agenda.
“Even with an agreed non-disclosure statement and financial settlement, that appears to be short-lived,” Jones wrote. “It’s making its rounds all over the state and beyond. Is the person responsible still employed? Many questions are unanswered. With a Democratic Party which is suppose [sic] to be fighting to defeat Amendment One [which describes marriage as between one man and one woman] on the May 8 ballot, yet we have this in Goodwin House? How does that look?”
The question of appearances by Jones may imply that the harassment was same-sex in nature, which might complicate Democratic messaging in the party’s efforts to defeat the anti-gay-marriage amendment.
“Rest assured there is a statewide gathering (I am told) that are upset over this and want people held accountable,” Jones continued. “In all honesty, I am being told by several reliable sources that the Associated Press is itching to get this out. Thankfully, some are trying to stop it. Do we want the Republicans to get this information? They are also asking questions.”
Jones added that he expects that the “Democratic Party, our Candidates, and our credibility are doomed in this election,” if the alleged sexual harassment story is made public.
See the emails: