Roll Call has unveiled another instance of taxpayers paying for a lawmaker to hide his disgusting behavior. This time, us taxpayers forked over $220,000 so Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) could settle a sexual harassment lawsuit:

Winsome Packer, a former staff member of a congressional commission that promotes international human rights, said in documents that the congressman touched her, made unwanted sexual advances, and threatened her job. At the time, Hastings was the chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, where Packer worked.

Hastings has called Packer’s charges “ludicrous” and in documents said he never sexually harassed her.

“Until this evening, I had not seen the settlement agreement between the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) and Ms. Packer,” the congressman said in a statement Friday night. “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 also expressed outrage that taxpayers paid that money to Packer. He claimed that the lawsuit and an Ethics Committee investigation were dismissed.

At the time, Hastings insisted on his innocence. From Politico:

“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 in a Monday afternoon statement. “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.”

Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit in 2011. The lawsuit also named Hastings’ staff director Fred Turner, who Packer also claimed retaliated against her:

“Although Ms. Packer repeatedly rejected Mr. Hastings’ sexual attention and repeatedly complained about the harassment to the Commission Staff Director, Fred Turner, Mr. Hastings refused to stop sexually harassing her. Rather, Mr. Hastings and Mr. Turner began to retaliate against Ms. Packer—including making threats of termination—because she continued to object to Mr. Hastings’ conduct,” the Judicial Watch lawsuit filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia reads.

Hastings has a history filled with controversy. He served as a district court judge in in Florida before he became a congressman. The Florida Senate removed him in 1989 “by convicting him of eight impeachment articles, including one charging that he had conspired to obtain a $150,000 bribe.”

Many of those charges stemmed from a 1982 criminal trial connected to the bribe. The charges accused Hastings “of making false statements and producing false documents.”

Hastings was the sixth federal judge in history “to be removed from office by the upper chamber.”


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