Once again, Rep. Alcee Hastings is in trouble with the House Ethics Committee, who, on Thursday, announced it was investigating the lawmaker over a relationship with his longtime girlfriend, who works on his staff.
The Ethics Committee released a statement saying it was “aware of public allegations” that the 14-term Democrat allegedly a personal relationship with a member of his staff. The news media in Florida claims the staffer’s name is Patricia Williams, who currently serves as a top official in Florida’s district office.
Have you noticed when the Dems control the House and can whitewash ethics investigations, it’s always the black representatives whose behavior is beyond justification?
House Ethics Committee announces that Rep. Alcee Hastings is under investigation for allegations of a relationship with one of his staffers. pic.twitter.com/v2055kzHRw
— Colin Wilhelm (@colinwilhelm) November 14, 2019
The Ethics Committee didn’t identify the staffer in question, but the case clearly refers to Patricia Williams, the deputy director in Hastings’ office in his Broward-Palm Beach County district.
Williams, who is the congressman’s highest-paid staffer, and Hastings have been in a relationship for decades. And critics have raised questions about it for years.
But there’s been a sea change in society’s attitudes toward employer-employee relationships. The emergence of the #MeToo movement, in which powerful men in business, politics and the media came under new scrutiny for forcing women into sex, prompted a 2018 House rule change that prohibited sexual relationships between members of Congress and their employees.
There isn’t any indication that the Hastings-Williams relationship isn’t consensual, but the relationship appears to violate the rule that states a member of Congress “may not engage in a sexual relationship with any employee of the House who works under the supervision” of the member or on a committee on which the member serves. It doesn’t apply to couples who are married.
Hastings hasn’t kept his relationship with Williams a secret. The couple reportedly bought a $700,000 home together two years ago. As for Hastings being in trouble with the Ethics Committee, a former aide, Winsome Packer, accused Hastings of sexual harassment and was eventually paid $220,000 which was deemed “one of the largest secret settlements paid out in recent years by the congressional Office of Compliance,” according to The Washington Post.
The Ethics Committee, which said it began its investigation on May 14, provided few details.
In a written statement, the committee announced that it is “aware of public allegations arising out of Representative Alcee Hastings’ personal relationship with an individual employed in his congressional office.” The committee said it is considering whether his relationship with the employee violates a House rule and whether he “has received any improper gifts” from the employee. [Sun-Sentinel]
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