The Treasury Department paid $220,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit in 2014 brought by a former congressional staffer against Congressional Black Caucus member Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), Roll Call reported.
“Until this evening, I had not seen the settlement agreement between the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) and Ms. Packer. 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,” Hastings stated. The congressman added that he’s “outraged” that public money was spent to settle the “ludicrous” allegations.
Winsome Packer, the former congressional staff member, alleged in documents that Hastings touched her, made unwanted sexual advances, and threatened her job. They were working together on the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe when the congressman was serving as committee chairman. The settlement was not included in a document released last month by the Office of Compliance, which shows a breakdown of payouts over the past five years to settle complaints against House members.
However, the Roll Call obtained files that show the Office of Compliance approved the $220,000 settlement to Packer. She received a payment in that amount from the Treasury Department in May 2014. The Office of Compliance did not return a request for comments. This revelation is the latest in a wave of sexual harassment cases to rock Capitol Hill. Arizona Republican Rep. Trent Franks announced on Thursday that he would resign at the end of January after the House Ethics Committee said it would probe sexual harassment allegations against him. Democrats Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota and Rep. John Conyers Jr. also announce their resignations over sexual harassment claims last week.
SOURCE: Roll Call