$220K in taxpayer funds used to settle harassment case involving Fla. Dem: report

$220K in taxpayer funds used to settle harassment case involving Fla. Dem: report
© Greg Nash

The Treasury Department doled out $220,000 in taxpayer money in 2014 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit involving Rep. Alcee HastingsAlcee (Judge) Lamar HastingsLawmakers consider provision banning killing of dogs, cats for food McGovern tapped to replace Slaughter as top Dem on Rules panel Giving the middle class credit: New bill a step in right direction MORE (D-Fla.), Roll Call reported Friday, citing newly obtained documents.

Winsome Packer had reportedly been working at the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe when she said Hastings touched her, made sexual advances toward her and threatened her job security. Hastings was the chairman of the congressional commission at the time.

Hastings has denied the allegations in the documents cited by Roll Call and said he had not seen the settlement agreement, which was made between the commission and Packer. 

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“Until this evening, I had not seen the settlement agreement between the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) and Ms. Packer,” Hastings said in a statement to Roll Call on Friday night.

“This matter was handled solely by the Senate Chief Counsel for Employment. At no time was I consulted, nor did I know until after the fact that such a settlement was made," he continued. 

“I am outraged that any taxpayer dollars were needlessly paid to Ms. Packer." 

The report comes as similar revelations of payouts over allegations of sexual misconduct on Capitol Hill have surfaced in recent weeks. 

BuzzFeed News reported last month that the office of then-Rep. John ConyersJohn James ConyersConyers III won't appear on primary ballot in race to replace his father Conyers's son in danger of missing ballot in Michigan Eric Schneiderman and #MeToo pose challenges for both parties MORE Jr. (D-Mich.) paid $27,000 in a taxpayer-funded settlement to a former staffer who accused him of sexual harassment.

Conyers resigned earlier this week following pressure from congressional Democrats after more allegations surfaced.

Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenSenators introduce bill to overhaul sexual harassment policy Ex-White House ethics counsel: More evidence against Trump than there ever was against Nixon 100 days after House passage, Gillibrand calls on Senate to act on sexual harassment reform MORE (D-Minn.) similarly resigned on Thursday after many of his Democratic colleagues called on him to step down following multiple allegations that he groped and attempted to kiss women without their consent.

Meanwhile, Rep. Blake FarentholdRandolph (Blake) Blake FarentholdSenators introduce bill to overhaul sexual harassment policy Freedom Caucus bruised but unbowed in GOP primary fights Five races to watch in the Texas runoffs MORE (R-Texas) announced earlier this week he would pay back his own $84,000 taxpayer-funded sexual harassment settlement.