Patterico's Pontifications

6/22/2011

Alcee Hastings Investigated For Sexual Harrassment (Update: Linkage, and Apparently Even Hastings Doesn’t Know if He is Guilty)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 7:07 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

Update: Althouse links. Thanks, and keep an eye on her, because she is about to go to a new address–obvious fallout from how Blogger treated her. She highlights a passage from the same article as “[a] lesson in how to say ‘no comment’ with maximum verbosity.” But frankly rereading it, this line from Hastings jumped out at me:

“Quite frankly your source has as much or more information than I do and I would suggest you rely upon them,”

Really? I mean wouldn’t you, Mr. Hastings, know if you actually harassed this woman? Wouldn’t that be something you know that the source didn’t?

——————————

Alcee Hastings is probably most famous for being the sixth federal judge in history to be impeached and removed, having been found guilty by the Senate of accepting a bribe or $150,000.  And with political corruption, is it really a surprised he stands accused of sexual harassment, too?

Hey, Tony Montana, will you explain how this works?

So in my mind it is a cliché for a corrupt politician* to then try to use his power to get sex.  That’s what was so man-bites-dog about the whole Weinergate saga, although for Weiner he seemed to use his position to impress ladies, to entice into consentual sexting. By contrast, Hastings allegedly attempted to use his position to coerce:

A congressional ethics panel is investigating allegations that Florida Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings sexually harassed a member of his staff, according to people familiar with the matter.

The investigation of Mr. Hastings is being conducted by the Office of Congressional Ethics, the House’s independent ethics investigative arm, and it is at a preliminary stage.

It began at least a month ago after Judicial Watch, a conservative group, filed a lawsuit as the legal counsel for Winsome Packer, a staffer on a commission Mr. Hastings headed. She alleged that she had been sexually harassed by the congressman and that he retaliated when she tried to report it.

Read the whole thing.  And indeed, you can read the sexual harassment complaint, here.

My take away from the complaint is this.  First, the plaintiff seems to be a somewhat high-strung person.  I mean by the end of it she is almost having a heart attack from the stress of the whole thing.  It all struck me as a bit “dramatic” but then some people are like that, I suppose.  Still, because she frequently saw the doctor and allegedly told them that it was sexual harassment by Hastings that was stressing her out, there might be a long record of her telling others who have no axe to grind that she was being harassed.  That tends to lend credibility to her claims.

I found paragraphs 43 and 44 particularly damning.  And gosh, Hastings (allegedly) sure likes to hug her, doesn’t he?  Otherwise, as sexual harassment complaints go (in my work I have become kind of a connoisseur of them) what struck me was how ordinary it all was.  If there was ever a template for sexual harrassment, Hastings (allegedly) largely seems to fit into it.

Of course I can’t tell you how many times you get a complaint like this and you think your client is doomed, only to see if fall apart if you breathe too hard on it, so time will tell.  But right after Weinergate, I am not sure Democrats want to talk about another accusation of sexual impropriety.

————————————–

* I base my assertion that Hastings is a corrupt politician because of his conviction by the Senate of taking bribes.  I don’t know of any subsequent conduct, I just don’t believe a taint like that goes away.  I consider him corrupt for life.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

63 Responses to “Alcee Hastings Investigated For Sexual Harrassment (Update: Linkage, and Apparently Even Hastings Doesn’t Know if He is Guilty)”

  1. “If Sarah Palin isn’t enough of a reason for you to get over whatever your problem is with Barack Obama, then you damn well had better pay attention. Anybody toting guns and stripping moose don’t care too much about what they do with Jews and blacks. So, you just think this through.”

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  2. I tried to think that through but I couldn’t quite follow the logic there.

    SarahW (af7312)

  3. “There ain’t no rules here, we’re trying to accomplish something. . . .All this talk about rules. . . .When the deal goes down . . . we make ‘em up as we go along.”

    http://urbangrounds.com/2010/03/rep-alcee-hastings/

    elissa (056aeb)

  4. What a creepy guy.

    SarahW (af7312)

  5. Republican Patriarchy oligarchs and misogyny. And the Koch Brothers. And, Justice Uncle Thomas.

    JD (85b089)

  6. I had forgotten that bit of ‘wisdom’, from Alcee,

    ian cormac (72470d)

  7. Winsome Packer? That would have made a great name for one of the 007 girls. Sorry, couldn’t help but mention that.

    Old Coot (b874b8)

  8. happy

    hastings knew that hitler was a vegetarian, right?

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  9. It might could be that the stripping of the moose is an act which in itself is a marker of a proclivity to oppress jewish people and black people, quite independently of the eating of the moose.

    Needs more study.

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  10. Right, forget the guy whose preacher’s circular praised Hamas, well that doesn’t matter.

    ian cormac (72470d)

  11. ian

    who are you talking about?

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  12. i think he might could mean that Obama has done quite a number on our jewish friends

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  13. Anyone stripping moose needs to ask why they were wearing clothes in the first place. But I can totally see it as a marker for a proclivity to sexual deviancy.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  14. Alcee’s conviction was the result of a Rove-conducted plot to replace him.
    Once again, the Evil Genius/Moron Boosh strikes,
    undermining the Constitution as he lies us into war by dragooning the Congress into supporting his world-wide depredations to acquire Texas-Tea!

    AD-RtR/OS! (8df2e8)

  15. First, the plaintiff seems to be a somewhat high-strung person. I mean by the end of it she is almost having a heart attack from the stress of the whole thing. It all struck me as a bit “dramatic” but then some people are like that, I suppose. Still, because she frequently saw the doctor and allegedly told them that it was sexual harassment by Hastings that was stressing her out, there might be a long record of her telling others who have no axe to grind that she was being harassed. That tends to lend credibility to her claims.

    It’s really amazing you see the plaintiff as high-strung. Are you kidding? I read the entire complaint and frankly, her reactions to such direct harassment and come-ons by a superior, rang true. There was no hysteria, screaming fits, throwing things, or other reactions that would speak to melodrama, but rather there was a woman realizing that her superior was coming on to her, putting her in unbelievably uncomfortable positions, and eventually becoming bluntly lewd and making sexual advances – all the while having made it repeatedly perfectly clear that she was not interested.

    To make the dismissive and subjective assessment that plaintiff appears high-strung, to me minimizes right from the get-go the seriousness of the alleged sexual harassment and paints plaintiff in a less than believable light, or at the least, brings her stability into question.

    Again, her responses rang true, especially in light of the harasser being such a powerful man who had plenty of cover from those around him who were also dependent upon his favor for their jobs. A woman working for a very powerful man and facing unwanted advances is particularly difficult, especially when that man has been given the leeway by peers to behave badly. Most women are going to react with emotion, disgust and fear. Even the strongest of us.

    Dana (4eca6e)

  16. In honor of Whoopie the question must be asked: Was it harassment harassment?

    elissa (056aeb)

  17. He represents one of the most liberal districts in FL, so no surprise he keeps getting reelected. And the sexual harassment will just be another notch in his belt.

    I did read on Wiki (yeah, I know) that his co-conspirator in the indictment while he was a judge was given a full pardon by Bill Clinton on his last day in office. How special.

    PatAZ (6506bb)

  18. Well said, Dana. I thought the same thing. Sorry, Aaron, but you are very close to “blame the victim” territory.

    PatAZ (6506bb)

  19. I dunno. Next you’ll be suspecting Geithner of tax evasion.

    Kevin M (298030)

  20. Dana

    First, i am not minimizing what she went through and i am not saying she shouldn’t sue. even if she is over-reacting in the sense of needing hospitalization for stress, its all hastings fault, if he did what she alleged.

    Second, bluntly, i see things through the prism of my own life. I have faced discrimination in pressured situations but i didn’t get stressed out. I kept an even keel and yeah, i look a little askance at a person who lets this kind of crap get to them. If i was her friend, i would tell her to do what she did, but i would also tell her to stop getting so worked up over it.

    I’m not saying she should put up with this kind of crap, if it really happened. But she shouldn’t let it cripple her so much emotionally. You shouldn’t give anyone that much power over you.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  21. Alcee’s one of Eric Holder’s special people, the ones who’re above the law.

    ropelight (a18c33)

  22. “… in light of the harasser being such a powerful man…” in his own twisted view.
    After overcoming impeachment and conviction, and being elected to Congress (repeatedly), he has joined the Oligarchy of Arrogant Pricks (of both genders),
    who believe that they can do just about anything they want to (see remarks by Hastings, Stark, Pelosi, ad infinitum).
    Revolutions are born of such hubris!

    AD-RtR/OS! (8df2e8)

  23. Racist, Racist, Racist. Now shut up.

    f1guyus (2a84e9)

  24. If i was her friend, i would tell her to do what she did, but i would also tell her to stop getting so worked up over it.

    Stop getting so worked up over it??? Are you kidding? Aaron, you’re a nice guy, but I really hope your friend finds another friend to confide in if she finds herself being sexually harassed by a superior at work.

    Hastings physically pressed himself against her on more than one occasion, asked her what sort of panties she was wearing after a disgustingly dirty observation about congressional women and their panties, and basically, would not stop his illicit behavior.

    That is no small thing but when you cavalierly say, well, don’t let him control you or don’t get worked up over it, it makes it clear you do not understand the awfulness of being in the position Ms. Parker allegedly found herself in. Your comment is frankly insulting, patronizing, and I’m going to just say it – sexist.

    Other than that, great post.

    Dana (4eca6e)

  25. If she asked my advice, I’d have suggested wearing a wire to document a few of those incidents.

    Old Coot (b874b8)

  26. Don’t forget racist, Dana. Clearly racist.

    JD (b98cae)

  27. dana

    > you do not understand the awfulness of being in the position Ms. Parker allegedly found herself in

    how about the awfulness of getting ready to take the Law School admission test, while having to sue the law school admission council to get accommodations on that test? and having the hearing on it about two weeks before the test date.

    how about having a professor tell you in your first semester in law school that if you dare receive accommodations he will black ball you to every firm you might apply to?

    Not to mention dropping out of high school.

    Each of those things are outrages and i dealt with them. but i didn’t let their bigotry emotionally handicap me.

    i do expect people to be strong and i will criticize them for it if they are not. i will tell people to be stronger. That isn’t the same as blaming the victim.

    > but I really hope your friend finds another friend to confide in if she finds herself being sexually harassed by a superior at work.

    she let his conduct so affect her that it damn near killed her. how exactly would i be a bad friend to suggest she try to reduce the chances of dying?

    > and I’m going to just say it – sexist.

    That presumes i would say something different to a man.

    Actually, honestly, i would say something different to a man. i would be even less tolerant of that kind of weakness. But that isn’t based on a belief that women are inherently weaker, but that they are taught from a young age that it is appropriate to be weak emotionally, so you have that societal instruction you are butting heads against.

    I absolutely believe a woman is capable of being as strong as any man. Of course no one is made of stone and she is allowed to be upset. A certain amount of anger and concern was fully justified. But clearly it was out of hand in her case and endangering her health and i don’t apologize for saying that she needs to learn to deal with stress better. She shouldn’t let the bastard almost kill her. Its that simple with me. Call it “tough love.”

    And that’s assuming everything she said was true. And i want to add that none of this goes to her credibility, except in the sense that she claims she was talking to her doctor all along and if that turns out to be true, it will greatly enhance her credibility.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  28. old coot

    fair point. i in fact did once…

    i told a friend “gosh, that’s like linda tripp”

    and i replied, “damn right i is. the first time she blew the whistle on the clintons they accused her of lying. she was smart to record those calls.”

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  29. “Winsome Packer”, really?

    (snickers)

    Unka Billy (8096f2)

  30. Is it racist to call him a taint?

    Diffus (228fe4)

  31. Why would Mr Hastings know if he had sexually harassed the woman in question? After all, I didn’t know if the picture in question was of my manhood or not!

    Anthony Weiner (3e4784)

  32. Dana -

    Were my friend being sexually harassed by her boss, I, too, would counsel her to take back control of herself and her situation, just as Aaron advocates.

    Fighting back through the legal system is just one area to control, while her health is another, more personally important, area. Letting the stress destroy her and drive her to a heart attack is not the example she should set for her children.

    Succumbing to the power play made by her boss is just playing into his hands, even if not in the way he’s seeking. People who use their power to abuse others are rewarded by the control given them by those they abuse.

    I would hope, Dana, that you, too, would want to be a source of strength for your friends, rather than just a shoulder to lean on. Friends need both.

    Christy (72d3bd)

  33. Aaron, your comments about her being high-strung and then your further comments about her in the comments section are mis-placed and insensitive. Aaron, I will not fault you too much because you just cannot understand. Frankly you don’t know what you don’t know. And what you don’t know is what it is like to be a woman who is a victim of sexual harassment. Furthermore, you do not know if she has experienced sexual abuse prior to this. Fully 1/3rd of woman will experience some form of sexual abuse in their lifetimes (and these are only the ones that report it). Often, when people are sexually abused, they suffer from PTSD. One comment about her panties, brushing up against her, etc. would be more than enough to cause her to go into a full scale PTSD attack, not unlike a Marine, who after returning from Iraq, hears a firecracker going off and reacts by reaching for his gun, diving to the ground, and having a full scale emotional and physical response, just like he was in war.

    Woodshedder (f230f5)

  34. I’m still trying to make sense of the poster’s
    comments that somehow stripping moose and toting
    guns is related to jews and blacks. Perhaps
    he/she can give us some documentation.

    If he/she has no documentation, perhaps he/she
    should go back under their rock.

    El zopilote (e48238)

  35. that’s a quote from our friend Mr. Hastings what gives a lot of insight into his thinkings I think

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  36. Geez, I think it’s time to place blame for this where it’s due, and that’s the voters in the district where this dick came from. There should be a law about an electoral district electing a convicted felon who breaks the law while in office that not only tosses out the politicion but precludes that district (or state) from electing a replacement for the remainder of the term as well as one further term.

    scr_north (d1f78f)

  37. I don’t see what’s insensitive about Aaron elevating victims into a position of more power.

    Anyway, bottom line is that scr_north is right. The voters empowering Hastings are idiots.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  38. there has to be some check and balance to remedy politically-motivated prosecutions though, north person

    America has a lot of very corrupt prosecutors or at least Texas does. For reals ask Mr. DeLay.

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  39. here btw is how this mess is being reported back home in florida

    Politics, If You Can Call It That
    Alcee Hastings Faces Ethics Investigation; Allegedly Too Touchy-Feely With Ex-Staffer

    does that seem kind of minimizey to you?

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  40. Well, you know, Alcee Hastings is an impeached federal judge. He took bribes but was acquitted at his trial because of jury tampering, but then was impeached. The impeachment and removal, however, did not include the punishment of disqualification from fuiture public office, but only removal as a judge, so now he’s a member of Congress.

    http://www.wwco.com/~dda/criminals.php

    From the 1998 Almanac of American Politics: “He was impeached by the House of Representatives by a vote of 426-3 in 1988 and convicted and removed from office by the Senate by a vote of 69-26. The impeachment arose from allegations that Hastings conspired with a friend to accept $150,000 for giving two convicted swindlers a break in sentencing. Hastings was acquitted in a criminal trial in 1983, but the friend was convicted [in a separate trial] . In the House, the case for impeachment was made by John Conyers, senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Removed from the bench, Hastings was unapologetic.”

    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/cpquery/?&sid=cp105LTV8y&r_n=hr830.105&dbname=cp105&&sel=TOC_347731&

    “Judge Hastings was found guilty by the Senate on seven of twelve articles of impeachment involving false testimony and on an article stating that he was a participant in the bribery conspiracy. 135 Cong. Rec. 25,330-35 (1989). The seven `false testimony’ articles alleged that Judge Hastings knowingly made false statements under oath intending to mislead the trier of fact regarding whether he had (1) entered into an agreement to seek the $150,000 bribe from the defendants, (2) agreed to modify the sentences of the defendants in return for the bribe, (3) agreed in connection with the bribe to return property to the defendants that he had previously ordered forfeited, (4) appeared at a hotel to demonstrate his participation in the bribery scheme, (5) instructed his law clerk to prepare an order returning property to the defendants in the racketeering and embezzlement case in furtherance of the bribery scheme, (6) conducted a telephone conversation with his co-conspirator in furtherance of the bribery scheme, and (7) fabricated certain letters in an effort to hide the bribery scheme. 134 Cong. Rec. 20,206-07 (1988).

    Since the articles of impeachment did not charge that Judge Hastings’s false statements met a materiality standard, it can be inferred that Congress did not endeavor to impeach him for perjury, but only for making false statements. However, it seems obvious that the false statements made by Judge Hastings would have been found by a court to be material.”

    Sammy Finkelman (d3daeb)

  41. I remember reading that it was jury tampering, but evidentally, Congress only convicted him of perjury. This doesn’t prove anything regarding this quite different accusation, except that he’s good or used tio be good, at cover-ups and at making political friends or has protectors.

    Sammy Finkelman (d3daeb)

  42. I think this judge was suspected of disclosing a federal wiretap to an associate around the same time as the bribery thing.
    Don’t remember the result, though.

    Andrew (43525c)

  43. Woodshed

    well, i suspect we’ll have to agree to disagree on this. I will simply trust that you read all my comments on this point of contention and considered them as i did what both you and dana said.

    SCR

    > I think it’s time to place blame for this where it’s due, and that’s the voters in the district where this dick came from.

    Indeed. I was just saying to an office friend… “really? this is the best person living in that district? you can’t find someone who wasn’t impeached as a federal judge?”

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  44. The left worship Ahmadinejad because he hates jews captialism and is a socialist stalin like character.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  45. Since it is a republican woman,she must be “high strung.”Moreover, Now will in her corner.

    mike191 (b4a717)

  46. mike

    you know i am conservative, right?

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  47. So… Weiner didn’t know if it was his own dick or not, Hastings doesn’t know if he harrassed that particular woman or not… Must be a new defense.

    Although, I expect CJ @ LGF to claim “Heck, it could have been ME that harrassed that woman.” any day now.

    RB (138d49)

  48. Oxymoron alert: “corrupt politician”.

    navyvet (db5856)

  49. Um no navy thst is redundant.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  50. Winsome Packer? No disrespect to the lady and her treatment, but what an unfortunate name for this upcoming battle.

    SherlockHomes (d77c52)

  51. RB

    i just read that hastings was hacked. daily kos has all the details!

    heh.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  52. Sorry, that should have been “Redundancy alert”. D’oh!

    navyvet (db5856)

  53. that*

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  54. i just read that hastings was hacked. daily kos has all the details!

    There have never been any inappropriate exchanges between Alcee Hastings and myself, including the harrassment in question, which had apparently been deleted before it reached me. I cannot answer the questions that I do not have the answers to. I am not sure whether or not this letter will alleviate any future harassment. I also do not have a clear understanding as to how or why exactly I am involved in this fiasco. I do know that my life has been seriously impacted by speculation and faulty allegations. My reputation has been called into question by those who lack the character to report the facts.

    RB (064bd8)

  55. doh, navy

    dudes, you are like having a brainfartmaggeddon over there. :-)

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  56. @Aaron, no problem with agreeing to disagree. I don’t think you meant any harm. I just think that most people do not understand the long-lasting trauma that can result from sexual harassment/abuse. I seriously encourage you at some point to do some research (google will suffice) about this issue. Your advice is poignant but I think you will find it to be inappropriate for cases of sexual abuse/harassment.

    Woodshedder (f230f5)

  57. Supreme moral authority card playing is noted and rejected.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  58. I think women react differently towards gender discrimination ( in the sense of those actions related to gender, race, religion and any sort of special status)–as opposed to being stalked by a sexual predator. It triggers a different reaction. Fear of rape and physical abuse perhaps? As a result, there will be almost primal sort of reaction. You either freeze or try to physically hurt them. Again, its good to remain calm and collected, but the “I’m in danger” primal fear reaction isn’t always conveniently controlled.

    That fear represents a different threat from overcoming the challenge of facing fears of rejection of who you are or from fearing the threats of irrational tyrants. Your story shows courage, but I can’t say these situations demand equal amounts of self-control.

    bmertz (d77c52)

  59. Bribe taking, impeached and convicted Alcee Hastings was in line to become chairman of the House Intelligence Committee after Speaker Pelosi pushed Rep. Jane Harman aside for siding with Bush on the Iraq war and intelligence matters.

    There are only 4 members of congress who have unlimited access to all intelligence matters. They are the two intelligence chairs and the ranking members. This because both committess have oversight over intelligence matters.

    If Rep. Hastings would sell his soul for $150,000, what would he do for the millions the Chinese or Russians would pay for the jewels, our county’s most treasured intelligence secrets?

    Well he didn’t get the chairmanship. I suspect the Bush administration wouldn’t grant him any additional clearances and backed Spealer Pelosi down.

    Corky Boyd (f66f20)

  60. I wonder how Miss/Mrs Winsome Packer came to be in the employ of Hastings.

    Ah here it is. She was a bureaucrat assigned to a commission that Hastings was elected to.
    I’m under the impression that Washington bureaucrats are sort of impossible to fire. Kind of like post office employees and ethnic studies professors.

    Is it possible that Hastings motive was to coerce Packer into voluntarily resigning.

    Not that it would matter much but it might open up less obvious possible avenues of actions which Hastings took, that might not have been apparent to an emotionally distressed lady.

    Those avenues (if they exist) would be the type that leave a paper trail. Easier to prove in court.

    papertiger (e55ba0)

  61. scr_north wrote:

    There should be a law about an electoral district electing a convicted felon who breaks the law while in office that not only tosses out the politicion but precludes that district (or state) from electing a replacement for the remainder of the term as well as one further term.

    Blame the United States Senate, which removed the Distinguished Gentleman from his position as a federal judge, but did not choose to disqualify him from holding future federal office.

    The critical Dana (3e4784)

  62. People with no moral compass are really puzzled when their behavior is challenged and may think the victim should have been flattered.

    dunce (b89258)

  63. “OK, Hastings, come on out. Don’t make us come in and get you.”

    “Come and git me, Coppers! Top of the world, Ma!”

    This is small potatoes for Hastings. First of all, he’s a Democrat, and sexual complaints are “just about sex” to Democrats. Second, he’s been facing one charge or another for most of his political career.

    He won’t resign.

    bobdog (166386)


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.3950 secs.