Judicial Watch Statement on House Ethics Committee’s Decision to Extend Sexual Harassment Probe of Rep. Alcee Hastings
Office of Congressional Ethics concluded there is “probable cause” to believe Hastings “violated House rules, standards of conduct and federal law”
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton today issued the following statement in response to a report released by the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) related to sexual harassment and other allegations made by Winsome Packer against Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL), as well as a House Ethics Committee’s decision to extend its probe of the matter:
We are very pleased that the Office of Congressional Ethics report validated Ms. Packer’s allegations against Rep. Hastings. Now the House Ethics Committee needs to get its act together and punish Rep. Hastings for his reprehensible treatment of Ms. Packer. Given the grave nature of the allegations and the other laws he evidently violated, the Department of Justice ought to investigate the allegations against Rep. Hastings as well.
In the meantime, Judicial Watch will proceed with its lawsuit on behalf of Ms. Packer.
Rep. Hastings’ attacks against Winsome Packer are disgraceful and beneath the office he holds. His response calls to mind his corrupt behavior that resulted in his impeachment and removal from the federal bench.
Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit on behalf of Ms. Packer against Rep. Hastings on March 7, 2011 (Packer v. US Comm. On Security & Cooperation in Europe, and Hastings and Turner (CV No. 11-00485)).
On October 11, 2011, the Office of Congressional Ethics referred the matter to the House Ethics Committee and released a report concluding, “…there is probable cause to believe that Representative Hastings violated House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law as a result of his interactions with [Ms. Packer].”
Ms. Packer alleges that Rep. Hastings subjected her to unwelcome sexual advances and touching over a two year period when she worked for the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (also known as the Helsinki Commission). Ms. Packer further alleges that Rep. Hastings, with the assistance of Helsinki Commission Staff Director Fred Turner, retaliated against her when she rebuffed the congressman’s advances.