Politics

Chronicles of alleged congressional sex scandals: Alcee Hastings edition

Screen shot

Font Size:

Reaffirming the ongoing perception that sex scandals and Congress go together like bacon and eggs, Florida Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings is now facing an ethics investigation over allegations of sexual harassment.

A congressional ethics panel investigation into the Florida congressman is in its early stages.

The inquiry reportedly began after Judicial Watch filed a law suit on behalf of a former female employee who was the alleged victim of Hasting’s “unwelcome sexual advances,” “unwelcome touching” and “retaliation.”

“For over two years, from January 2008 through February 19, 2010, Ms. [Winsome] Packer was forced to endure unwelcome sexual advances, crude sexual comments, and unwelcome touching by Mr. Hastings while serving as the Representative of the Commission to the United States Mission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe,” Judicial Watch’s lawsuit filed in March with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia reads. The complaint goes on to explain that while Packer rejected Hasting’s advances and complained to Commission staff director, Fred Turner, the harassment did not stop. Instead she was threatened with termination.

(Rep. Anthony Weiner refuses to say if lewd Twitter photo was of him)

Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch, confirmed to the Wall Street Journal Tuesday that Packer is working with the Office of Congressional Ethics.

Hastings’s attorney, Tonya Robinson, said that “in the strongest terms,” the congressman “denies the charges.”

“He is confident that he will be fully exonerated,” Robinson said. “Mr. Hastings has stated unequivocally that the record will show that the plaintiff’s claims are untruthful and without merit.”

When the initial lawsuit was filed in March Hastings denied the charges in no uncertain terms.

(Rep. Christopher Lee resigns after revelation he cruised for women online)

“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!’” Hastings said. “I will win this lawsuit. That is a certainty. In a race with a lie, the truth always wins. And when the truth comes to light and the personal agendas of my accusers are exposed, I will be vindicated.”

The panel has 90 days to investigate the charges before recommending whether the House Ethics Committee should look into the matter.

Follow Caroline on Twitter