Top Democrat Congressman propositioned policy expert for sex – then threatened to ruin her career when she said ‘no’, reveals House report that CLEARED him of harassment

Top Democrat Congressman propositioned policy expert for sex – then threatened to ruin her career when she said ‘no’, reveals House report that CLEARED him of harassment

What a Jerk!!! One of the most controversial Democrats in the House propositioned a high-flying policy adviser for sex then threatened to end her career when she rebuffed him, according to a House ethics report.

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One of the most controversial Democrats in the House propositioned a high-flying policy adviser for sex then threatened to end her career when she rebuffed him, according to a House ethics report.
Alcee Hastings exploded with rage and told Winsome Packer that she could forget about a political career when she repeatedly turned him down in their hotel one evening in Portugal in 2009.
She told him: ‘Excuse me, I have to call my son’ and walked away in tears during the most serious incident in what she alleged was a two-year-campaign of harassment
Hastings is said to have made numerous lewd comments and after downing two Courvoisier cocktails once said that he did not know how women wore the same pair of underwear all day.
Two Congressional ethics committee reports have revealed that he also repeatedly hugged Packer against her will.
He once supposedly told her that ‘nobody will think you are any less professional if you have a relationship with me’.
Both the House Committee on Ethics and the Office of Congressional Ethics investigated Hastings – who their reports say had two girlfriends at the time – but concluded he did NOT breach the rules of conduct.
They only admonished him for behavior that was ‘less than professional’ in the latest of many controversial blots on the 78-year-old’s career.
The report noted: ‘Representative Hastings told the OCE that he hugged Witness 1 [Packer] every time she said he did and that he hugs many different people.’
A former federal judge, Hastings was impeached for bribery and perjury in 1988 and became only the sixth person in such a position in US history to be forced off the bench.
He has also been ranked no.1 in the House for nepotism and was accused of sexual assault before.
The committee began its investigations after a complaint from Packer, who in 2007 became an advisor to the US Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, of which Hastings was chair.
A Jamaican-American, she speaks two languages and had previously served as George W Bush’s appointee to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.
Hastings is described as being ‘instrumental’ in getting her hired to the SCE post after, so the reports say, meeting her on the street and telling her they were hiring.
She traveled the world before returning to Washington when she formally alleged she had been harassed between 2007 and 2011.
Packer, 57, list numerous instances where she says Hastings crossed the line.
In the reports she says that in January 2008 he invited her to come to his apartment near Washington, leaving her ‘shocked’.
She did not reply and hoped that he would ‘get the message’.
Later that year when she had relocated to Vienna, he visited the city on business and bought her a gift – a music box from the Czech Republic – and asked if they could live in the same apartment while he was there.
On another occasion when they were driving to a meeting at the International Atomic Energy Agency he said that he ‘had difficulty sleeping after sex’, the reports state.
In another incident in 2008 in Vienna Hastings made lewd comments whilst Packer and others were drinking with him at their hotel bar.
He supposedly said he ‘not understand how male and female members of Congress, but especially female members, can stay in their own clothing, specifically their underwear, for 16 hours a day
Packer says that he ‘specifically’ asked her about her underwear and that two colleagues who there laughed in her face when he did so.
Later that night as the drinks flowed Hastings reportedly told her that the ‘only reason he was dating one of his girlfriends was because she helped him during his legal troubles’.
He also said that another girlfriend was ‘not worthy’.
Hastings, 78, who is divorced with three children, sparked amusement in one of Packer’s colleagues who said that she was amazed he could ‘have girlfriends in both Florida and Washington’ at the same time.
Later, on a trip to Kazakhstan, he supposedly summoned her to his room as soon as she arrived at the airport.
When she walked in at 4am he had a drink in his hand and told her she looked ‘good’ before saying that ‘nobody will think you are any less professional if you have a relationship with me’.
The long list of alleged misbehavior continued with requests by Hastings to meet Packer for engagements that were not part of her job.
She alleged that he cancelled her hotel room in Odessa in Ukraine in 2010 during a Representatives Hearing, forcing her to stay in the capital Kiev, where he would be.
The prospect of this caused her to ‘hyperventilate’, the reports state, thought Hastings denied he was behind the change in arrangements.
Packer also objected to Hastings touching her inappropriately and said that he hugged her for no reason and put his cheek against hers.
Novel: Packer wrote a book which contained similarities to the evidence she gave as she alleged sexual harassment by Hastings
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Novel: Packer wrote a book which contained similarities to the evidence she gave as she alleged sexual harassment by Hastings
In an email to her boss in February 2010, Packer wrote: ‘I do not want Mr Hastings to hug me because I am uncomfortable with it and I insist at this point that it is not repeated’.
The most serious incident was during a trip to Portugal to attend a Parliamentary Assembly Bureau in 2009.
Packer and Hastings went for a work dinner with members of the OSCE and parliamentary staff, and the reports state that afterwards he propositioned her.
Hastings is said to have told her she was not a ‘sport’ and that he had come to her ‘as a man comes to a woman’, but she said no.
He allegedly launched into a 40 minute tirade in which he said he ‘liked’ her and had helped her career – and that he was upset because she had told a colleague about his advances.
Hastings said: ‘How dare you complain about me! You had better forget about being a Republican’ – apparently a reference to her potential political career.
When she rebuffed his advances yet again he demanded to know her room number but she refused to tell him and walked of.
By March 2011 Packer had had enough and filed a civil harassment lawsuit, sparking inquiries by both the House Committee on Ethics and the Office of Congressional Ethics.
In June this year she stepped down from her post with the SCE, citing stress-related health issues.
In its findings the House Committee on Ethics said that it reviewed more than 1,000 pages of documents and spoke to eight witnesses, including Packer and Hastings.
But it concluded there was not ‘substantial reason to believe’ the allegations and that there was not ‘clear and convincing evidence’ that Hastings broke the rules.
It said that the Packer’s evidence was contradictory and in November 2007 she emailed a colleague to say she had a ‘crush’ on Hastings.
It also pointed out there were similarities in the events she described and the plot of her 2010 novel, ‘A Personal Agenda’, which is about the ‘alienation, hostility and impropriety she experienced as a newcomer to Capitol Hill’.
The report did however chastise Hastings for conduct that was was ‘less than professional’ and said that its findings should be the ‘necessary corrective’ for his behavior.
The report said: ‘Sexual abuse in the workplace is an extremely serious problem, in part because it is often perpetrated by very powerful people…
‘…members must be held to account if they abuse that power’.
The Office of Congressional Ethics found there was ‘probable cause’ to believe Hastings had behaved in an inappropriate manner but not that he breached House rules.
Hastings’ office did not return emails asking for comment.
When Packer first accused him he said in a statement: ‘I have never sexually harassed anyone.
‘In fact, I am insulted that these ludicrous allegations are being made against me. When all the facts are known in this case, the prevailing sentiment will be, ‘How bizarre!’ I will win this lawsuit.
‘That is a certainty. In a race with a lie, the truth always wins. And when the truth comes to light and the personal agendas of my accusers are exposed, I will be vindicated.’
Packer was elected for the 20th District of Florida in 1992 and was the first African-American Congressman to be elected from the state since the Civil War.
He is a Senior Whip for the Democrats, and the ranking Democrat member of the Helsinki Commission.

This is not shocking at all. Its sad but the more disturbing thing is this is not an isolated incident. Many times women feel pressured to get ahead by these means. Men have also played into this as well. Until the culture changes I’m afraid this is not going to be the last story you see like this coming out of DC.

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