Representative Alcee Hastings (D-FL)
Under Investigation by: The House Ethics Committee and the OCE.
Under Investigation for: The House Ethics Committee is investigating allegations that Rep. Hastings sexually harassed a former staffer. Winsome Packer worked on the staff of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe from January 2008 to February 2010, while Rep. Hastings was co-chairman of the commission. In March 2011, Ms. Packer filed a civil suit in federal court alleging sexual harassment. In her lawsuit, Ms. Packer alleged that she was “forced to endure unwelcome sexual advances, crude sexual comments, and unwelcome touching by Mr. Hastings,” and that Rep. Hastings and his staff threatened to fire her when she refused his advances. In response, Rep. Hastings said he has “never sexually harassed anyone.” On February 14, 2012, a federal judge dismissed the case against Rep. Hastings, ruling that he cannot be held personally liable. Ms. Packer’s attorneys said they would continue to pursue the case against the Commission. Previously, Rep. Hastings was under investigation by the OCE and the House Ethics Committee for allegedly improperly retaining excess per diem funds while on official travel. The stipend is meant to cover meals and travel expenses, and members are directed to return excess funds. Rep. Hastings told the Wall Street Journal he had used his per diem to pay for drinks and gifts for other officials. The OCE referred the investigation to the House Ethics Committee on July 30, 2010, recommending further review. On December 31, 2010, the committee dropped the per diem investigation.
Status: On October 13, 2011, the OCE referred its investigation of Rep. Hastings to the House Ethics Committee. On November 28, 2011, the chairman and ranking member decided to extend the committee’s inquiry into Rep. Hastings’ conduct. On January 11, 2012, the House Ethics Committee voted against conducting a full-scale investigation, but decided to continue its preliminary review of the allegations.