GOP Rep. Tom Reed accused of sexual misconduct
A former lobbyist has accused Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) of sexually harassing her in 2017, The Washington Post reported Friday.
Nicolette Davis, now an Army second lieutenant, told the Post that Reed drunkenly rubbed her back and thigh and unhooked her bra at an Irish pub in Minnesota after a day of ice fishing while she was working as a junior insurance company lobbyist.
The allegations come as Reed, a co-chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, is considering a run against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who is facing calls to resign from both parties after multiple women accused him of sexual harassment.
Davis contacted the Post on Feb. 11 — before Reed said in a Fox News interview that he was considering a gubernatorial run — and said that her decision to go public with the allegations wasn’t motivated by the New York Republican’s political ambitions.
Davis said that the interaction with Reed was part of a weekend trip in January 2017 to benefit the campaign committee of then-Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.). Davis said that Reed appeared intoxicated and at one point slipped and fell on the ice.
Davis said that Reed began touching her while seated next to her at the Irish pub. She felt uncomfortable confronting Reed and asked the person sitting to her right for help. That person pulled Reed away and out of the restaurant, Davis recalled.
“I was also angry,” Davis told the Post. “I had wanted to go on this trip so badly but at that time, it didn’t matter that I had been working hard or that I had a master’s degree. All that mattered was that I was a warm female body.”
The account from Davis was backed by a person at the table that night in 2017, who declined to be named by the Post. Another coworker she had shared details with at the time, Jessica Strieter Elting, who runs Aflac’s political affairs team, also backed the account.
Reed said in a statement provided by his office that “this account of my actions is not accurate.”
When asked by reporters in the Capitol about the allegations, Reed referred back to the statement issued by his office.
Reed has been among the New York lawmakers calling for Cuomo’s resignation. Cuomo has rebuffed calls to resign, despite pressure from fellow Democrats and most members of New York’s congressional delegation.
“These incidents of sexual harassment and pattern of abuse are abhorrent and have absolutely no place in our society, let alone the highest rungs of government,” Reed said in February. “Such behavior is disturbing and unacceptable.”
Reed has been a proponent of multiple bills to combat sexual harassment and promote women’s rights, including a resolution to require lawmakers and staff to undergo training to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. Reed said in 2017 that he and his staff had all taken the training.
This week, Reed was among 29 Republicans who voted in favor of a bill to renew the Violence Against Women Act and one of four Republicans who supported a resolution to remove the deadline for ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment to constitutionally prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex.
“I stand by my record,” Reed said in a statement.