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$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 HastingsGOP leaders hesitant to challenge Trump on Saudi Arabia House passes bill outlawing the eating of cats and dogs Video shows Dem lawmaker joking about Trump drowning 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 ConyersWomen play pivotal role in delivering House to Dems Don Young holds on to House seat in Alaska Rashida Tlaib becomes first Palestinian-American woman to win congressional seat 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 FrankenSenate GOP beats expectations with expanded majority Democrat Smith wins in Minnesota, will serve remainder of Franken term Harvey Weinstein accused of sexually assaulting 16-year-old girl: reports 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 FarentholdFormer aides alleging sexual harassment on Capitol Hill urge congressional action AP Analysis: 25 state lawmakers running in 2018 have been accused of sexual misconduct Ex-lawmakers see tough job market with trade groups MORE (R-Texas) announced earlier this week he would pay back his own $84,000 taxpayer-funded sexual harassment settlement.