Record sexual harassment settlement exposes byzantine congressional process
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of NBC News
Posted: December 24th, 2017
Of all the secret deals cut on behalf of accused members of congress, the one that resulted in the largest settlement yet uncovered may be the most surprising. With new harassment accusations being revealed on a nearly daily basis in Congress, documents obtained by NBC News from this one case shed light on how taxpayer money ends up being used to essentially sweep such incidents under a bureaucratic rug. In 2011, Winsome Packer, a congressional staffer who worked for the United States Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe ... filed a complaint against the commission, alleging that its chairman at the time, Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., made unwanted sexual advances toward her and that she was threatened with retaliation. The details ... are recorded in the complaint she also brought in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The [House Ethics Committee] closed the case after finding that while the congressman admitted to having made some unprofessional comments, it had found no additional evidence supporting [Packers] allegations. The federal court also dismissed the case. So how did Winsome Packer end up getting a $220,000 taxpayer-funded settlement in May 2014? And why was that payment, settling sexual harassment claims against a member of the House of Representatives, not included in a disclosure ... of all such settlement payments in the last five years, provided by Congress Office of Compliance, the congressional office that approved the payment?