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Hastings Allegedly Retaliated Against Victim for Complaining About Conduct

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Washington, DC — March 7, 2011Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it filed a lawsuit on March 7, 2011, against Florida Democrat Congressman Alcee Hastings on behalf of a female employee who was repeatedly subjected to “unwelcome sexual advances,” “unwelcome touching” and retaliation. The alleged harassment and retaliation began in 2008, when Hastings was Chairman of the United States Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. The Commission is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit. Also named is the Commission’s former staff director, Fred Turner. Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit on behalf of Commission employee Winsome Packer (Packer v. US Comm. On Security & Cooperation in Europe, and Hastings and Turner (CV No. 11-00485 D.D.C.))According to Judicial Watch’s lawsuit, filed on Monday March 7th with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia:

For over two years, from January 2008 through February 19, 2010, Ms. Packer was forced to endure unwelcome sexual advances, crude sexual comments, and unwelcome touching by Mr. Hastings while serving as the Representative of the Commission to the United States Mission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. 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.Ms. Packer was particularly vulnerable to such threats because she was a Republican working for the Democratically-controlled Commission, a point that both Mr. Hastings and Mr. Turner used to threaten and intimidate her. Eventually, the emotional distress, anxiety, and humiliation caused by the sexual harassment and retaliation caused Ms. Packer to suffer severe health problems and forced her to leave her prestigious position.

According to Judicial Watch’s complaint, “Mr. Hastings’ intention was crystal clear: he was sexually attracted to Ms. Packer, wanted a sexual relationship with her, and would help progress her career if she acquiesced to his sexual advances.” These advances included: Making multiple demands that Ms. Packer allow Rep. Hastings to stay in her apartment while she served as the Commission’s lead staff representative overseas; subjecting Ms. Packer to unwanted physical contact, including hugging her with both arms while pressing his body against her body and his face against her face; inviting her on multiple occasions to accompany him alone to his hotel room; making sexual comments and references to Ms. Packer, and asking Ms. Packer humiliating and inappropriate questions in public, such as “What kind of underwear are you wearing?”After Ms. Packer repeatedly rebuffed these advances and reported them to her superior, Mr. Turner, and other officials (including Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD)), Hastings allegedly scolded her for not being a “sport” and for rejecting him after he had “come to [her] as a man does a woman.” He said he was very upset she had reported his behavior to Mr. Turner: “How dare you complain about me! You had better forget about being Republican.” Moreover, Hastings and Turner then allegedly took retaliatory actions against Ms. Packer by repeatedly threatening her job at the Commission, by refusing to allow her to return from overseas to her position as Policy Advisor in Washington, D.C., and by intentionally marginalizing her from her colleagues. Hastings also pressured Ms. Packer to buy him personal gifts and make a campaign contribution to him.As a direct result of Mr. Hastings’ sexual harassment, Ms. Packer experienced insomnia, anxiety, depression, high-blood pressure, and developed symptoms of coronary artery disease. At one point, these symptoms were so severe Ms. Packer collapsed and was rushed to the emergency room. Ms. Packer has been prescribed medication and is under the care of a physician because of the severity of her heart problems.“The allegations against Alcee Hastings as detailed in this complaint are outrageous. Is Congress so far gone that its members think they can get away with the most base sexual harassment of staff! For two years Hastings subjected Ms. Packer to a never-ending barrage of unwanted sexual advances. And when Ms. Packer tried, time and again, to put a stop to it, he resorted to threats and intimidation to force her compliance. Even after Hastings’ behavior caused Ms. Packer’s physical collapse, he would not relent. We look forward to holding Alcee Hastings and the other defendants accountable for their unlawful behavior in court,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.Hastings, a former federal judge, was impeached by the House and, after a trial, removed by the U.S. Senate from the bench in 1989 for bribery and perjury.

Contact Information:
Press Office 202-646-5172, ext 305

Washington, DC — March 4, 2011

Judicial Watch will be holding a press conference to announce details of a lawsuit to be filed today against a U.S. Representative.
This offender has come to the attention of ethics committees on numerous occasions with transgressions ranging from questionable use of per diem funds to acceptance of bribe monies. The Judicial Watch lawsuit contends that the congressman has finally gone beyond the pale.

When:

1:00 PM ET, Monday, March 7, 2011

Where:

Judicial Watch conference room
425 Third St, SW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20024

Who:

Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch

Pelosi Logged 43 Flights Covering 90,155 Miles from January to October 2010; Received “Chocolate-Covered Strawberries” for Birthday Surprise

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Washington, DC — January 26, 2011

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has obtained new documents from the United States Air Force detailing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s use of United States Air Force aircraft in 2010. According to the documents, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Pelosi used Air Force aircraft for 43 flights from January 1 to October 1, 2010. According to documents previously uncovered by Judicial Watch, by comparison, Nancy Pelosi logged 47 flights in the prior nine-month period, April 1, 2009, to January 1, 2010.
The most recent documents uncovered by Judicial Watch include a Passenger Mission Activity chart detailing all of former Speaker Pelosi’s flights January 1 to October 1, 2010, as well as detailed shopping lists for some flights, flight authorization forms, Mission Expense Records and internal Air Force correspondence related to the flights. Among the highlights from the documents, obtained pursuant to a FOIA request filed on September 10, 2010:

  • Pelosi used the Air Force aircraft for a total of 43 trips, covering 90,155 miles, from January 1 through October 1, 2010. The Air Force documented in-flight expenses for 22 of these flights totaling $1,821.33. The Air Force did not provide expense information for the remaining 21 flights.
  • Former Speaker Pelosi received chocolate covered strawberries as a birthday surprise on a March 26, 2010 flight. According to one internal Air Force email sent on March 25, 2010: “The speaker’s office is requesting egg salad sandwiches on wheat toast with fruit (watermelon, etc) for desert [sic]. It’s the speaker’s B-Day tomorrow so we’re also asking for something like chocolate covered strawberries (dark chocolate preferred)…” The immediate response to the email from another member of the Air Force staff: “Copy all. We’ll plan something for the birthday and take care of the meal.”

According to previous documents uncovered by Judicial Watch, the former Speaker’s military travel cost the United States Air Force $2,100,744.59 over one two-year period — $101,429.14 of which was for in-flight expenses, including food and alcohol. For example, purchases for one Pelosi-led congressional delegation traveling from Washington, DC, through Tel Aviv, Israel to Baghdad, Iraq May 15-20, 2008, included: Johnny Walker Red scotch, Grey Goose vodka, E&J brandy, Baileys Irish Cream, Maker’s Mark whiskey, Courvoisier cognac, Bacardi Light rum, Jim Beam whiskey, Beefeater gin, Dewar’s scotch, Bombay Sapphire gin, Jack Daniel’s whiskey, Corona beer and several bottles of wine.Judicial Watch also previously uncovered internal Department of Defense (DOD) email correspondence detailing attempts by DOD staff to accommodate Pelosi’s numerous requests for military escorts and military aircraft as well as the speaker’s last minute cancellations and changes. For example, in response to a series of requests for military aircraft, one DOD official wrote, “Any chance of politely querying [Pelosi's team] if they really intend to do all of these or are they just picking every weekend?…[T]here’s no need to block every weekend ‘just in case’…” The email also notes that Pelosi’s office had, “a history of canceling many of their past requests.”Judicial Watch also uncovered emails from the DOD that show the Pentagon worked hand-in-hand with congressional offices prior to releasing documents regarding congressional military travel under the FOIA. These “heads up” emails involved FOIA requests filed by Judicial Watch, The Wall Street JournalCongressional Quarterly, and Roll Call, among other organizations, related to the use of military aircraft by a number of congressional members, including Pelosi.“Despite the media firestorm over her military travel abuses, Nancy Pelosi continued to use the United States Air Force as her own personal travel agency right up until her final days as House Speaker,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Nancy Pelosi demonstrated an alarming disregard for the men and women in the U.S. Air Force during her tenure as House Speaker. We are pleased that Speaker Boehner will not follow Pelosi’s corrupt example and will instead fly commercial. But this scandal is not only about travel by the Speaker of the House. Through the Speaker’s office, other members of the House are able to obtain permission for the use of military luxury travel for congressional delegation trips abroad. These trips, known as CODELs, have exploded in number and cost. Speaker Boehner needs to reform this abuse of our military’s assets. This is the right thing to do for the U.S. Air Force and for the American taxpayer.”

Contact Information:
Press Office 202-646-5172, ext 305

Washington, DC — January 24, 2011Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, today released its list of investigative priorities for the new 112th Congress. The list, in alphabetical order, includes:

  • ACORN Corruption: Including, but not limited to, ACORN restructuring and rebranding; unethical activitiesby ACORN affiliates; incidents of voter registration fraud (Project Vote); and new Obama administration grants and funding for ACORN-linked groups.
  • Climategate: Including, but not limited to, the U.S. federal government’s involvement in the international scheme to exaggerate the rise in world temperature readings, the Environmental Protection Agency’s hyper-aggressive campaign to expand control over the economy through carbon restrictions and various controversies involving taxpayer-supported “green energy” programs.
  • Financial Solvency: Including, but not limited to, the impact nationally if individual States should begin to default on their debt.
  • Government Bailouts: Including, but not limited to, the government’s legal and constitutional justification for authorizing the bailouts of private financial institutions; government deliberations regarding which institutions received grants from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP); the decision by the Federal Housing Finance Authority (FHFA) to place Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac under “conservatorship;” and the government takeover of the American automotive industry.
  • Illegal Immigration: Including, but not limited to, the President’s attempts to enact stealth amnesty for illegal aliens without approval by Congress; deteriorating security on the nation’s southern border with Mexico; and the Obama administration’s unwillingness to enforce federal immigration laws.
  • National Security: Including, but not limited to, the Obama administration’s mishandling of Guantanamo Bay and the decision to prosecute 9/11 terrorists including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other terrorists in civilian courts on U.S. soil.
  • Obama Administration Czars: Including, but not limited to, the President’s decision to bypass Senate confirmation and appoint “czars” to hold positions of power within the Obama administration as well as various corruption scandals involving individual “czars.”
  • Obamacare: Including, but not limited to, the criteria used by the Obama administration to provide “waivers”to companies and unions exempting them from provisions of Obamacare; the Obama administration’s decision to evaluate medical treatments based solely on cost; and the regulation and funding of Obamacare in general.
  • Pension Fraud: Including, but not limited to, the funding and management of public pension plans for municipal, state and unionized government workers.
  • Politicization at the Department of Justice: Including, but not limited to racially and politically motivated decision-making in federal civil and voting rights enforcement (such as the decision to largely abandon a voter intimidation lawsuit against the Black Panthers); Justice’s decision to attack states that attempt to address illegal immigration through enhanced law enforcement measures; and the duties and responsibilities of lawyers inside Justice who previously represented terrorists.
  • White House Bribery: Including, but not limited to, an effort by the Obama administration to allegedly interfere with Senate elections in Pennsylvania and Colorado by offering federal appointments to candidatesRep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) and Andrew Romanoff in exchange for abandoning their campaigns.

“The American people spoke clearly on Election Day: No more backroom deals, no more influence peddling and no more corruption. This new Congress has an obligation to honor the intense desire by the American people to clean up corruption in Washington,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The federal government has grown by trillions of dollars, yet much of this historic new government activity (and control) has escaped effective congressional oversight. It is well past time for Congress to help pry loose information from the Obama administration, which is the most secretive in recent American history.”

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