WASHINGTON — A conservative legal group said Wednesday the congressional ethics office is looking into allegations that Florida congressman Alcee Hastings sexually harassed a female former aide.
Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, which is representing former Hastings staffer Winsome Packer, said that Packer has met with investigators from the Office of Congressional Ethics on her sexual harassment claim. The office has no disciplinary powers, and it can only recommend further investigation by the House ethics committee. The Office of Congressional Ethics had no comment.
“She is cooperating with investigators,” Fitton said of Packer.
Tonya Robinson, Hastings’ attorney, said Hastings denies Packer’s charges “in the strongest terms.”
“Mr. Hastings has stated unequivocally that the plaintiff’s claims are untruthful and without merit,” Robinson said.
Robinson added that “preliminary ethics inquiries are confidential matters under the relevant rules.”
In March, Packer filed a sexual harassment lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Washington against Hastings and the Helsinki Commission that he chaired. She claimed the Florida Democrat repeatedly made unwanted sexual advances and threatened her position when she refused him.
Packer served as the commission’s staff representative in Vienna and said much of the harassment occurred when Hastings was in Europe on business for the commission, which advises on U.S. policy about security, human rights and other issues involving Europe.
Packer’s suit said Hastings kept asking to stay at her apartment or get her to visit his hotel room, hugging her and making sexual comments including asking her what kind of underwear she was wearing.
In 1979, Hastings was appointed a federal judge. He was charged in an FBI bribery sting, but was acquitted by a federal jury in 1983.
He was later impeached by the House and removed from the bench in 1989 by the Senate. In 1992, Hastings was elected to Congress.
1. Top Black Pop Culture Moments Of 2015: Viola Davis Wins an Emmy for HTGWM
1 of 20
2. Top Black Pop Culture Moments of 2015: Misty Copeland’s “I Will, What I Want” Commercial
2 of 20
3. Top Black Pop Culture Moments of 2015: Zendaya and Amandla Read The Girls For Filth
3 of 20
4. Top Black Pop Culture Moments of 2015: The Year of The Black Cover Girl
4 of 20
5. Top Black Pop Culture Moments of 2015: Common and John Legend at the Oscars
5 of 20
6. Top Black Pop Culture Moments of 2015: Cicely Tyson Scratching Viola Davis’ Scalp on ‘HTGAWM’
6 of 20
7. Top Black Pop Culture Moments of 2015: Tristan Wilds in the Adele Video
7 of 20
8. Top Black Pop Culture Moments of 2015: Grace Jones’ AfroPunk Performance
8 of 20
9. Top Black Pop Culture Moments of 2015: Beyonce’s Met Gala Dress
9 of 20
10. Top Black Pop Culture Moments Of 2015: The Throning of Queen Serena
10 of 20
11. Top Black Pop Culture Moments of 2015: Missy Elliot’s Super Bowl Halftime Performance
11 of 20
12. Top Black Pop Culture Moments of 2015: That Bill Cosby ‘EBONY’ Cover
12 of 20
13. Top Black Pop Culture Moments Of 2015: Dem Patty Pies
13 of 20
14. Top Black Pop Culture Moments Of 2015: The Rise of ‘Empire’
14 of 20
15. Top Black Pop Culture Moments Of 2015: Drake Demolishes the Internet
15 of 20
16. Top Black Pop Culture Moments Of 2015: “Miley, What’s Good?”
16 of 20
17. Top Black Pop Culture Moments Of 2015: Ava DuVernay’s Barbie Sells Out in 17 Minutes
17 of 20
18. Top Black Pop Culture Moments Of 2015: John Boyega Stays Drinking White Tears
18 of 20
19. Top Black Pop Culture Moments Of 2015: Everything Black Twitter Did
19 of 20
20. Worst Moments In Pop Culture Moments Of 2015
20 of 20
Continue reading More Scandals? Congressman Faces Sexual Harassment Allegations
Top Black Pop Culture Moments Of 2015
From <a href="http://hellobeautiful.com/2015/12/22/sandra-bland-family-non-indictment/" target="_blank"><strong>Sandra Bland</strong></a> to the shootings in <a href="http://hellobeautiful.com/2015/06/20/why-is-south-carolina-using-a-judge-in-the-charleston-church-massacre-who-has-used-the-n-word-before/" target="_blank">Charleston, South Carolina</a>, African Americans were sadly reminded that being <a href="http://hellobeautiful.com/2015/12/13/police-brutality-2015/" target="_blank">Black in America</a> is much harder than it ought to be. And yet in the same breath, 2015 was a year of Black joy during which our culture dominated not only in our lives, but in the mainstream consciousness. From <a href="http://hellobeautiful.com/2015/07/16/lee-daniels-and-taraji-p-henson-emmy-empire/" target="_blank">Cookie Lyons</a> to the <a href="http://hellobeautiful.com/2015/10/17/ebony-editor-comments-cosby-cover/" target="_blank">Cosby <em>Ebony </em>cover</a>, our brilliance helped to push the conversation, affirm our greatness, make history and most important, make us laugh.
So to celebrate that greatness, we put together this list of the most defining Black pop culture moments of 2015. And don’t worry: <a href="http://hellobeautiful.com/2015/12/08/rachel-dolezal-interview/" target="_blank">Rachel Dolezal </a>is nowhere to be seen.