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