Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings Under Investigation For Hiring Longtime Girlfriend Who Worked In His Office Since ’93
Longtime Florida Congressman Alcee Hastings, 83, is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee over his long-standing personal relationship with a member of his staff, reported The Hill. The committee made the announcement Thursday after an op-ed published by the Sun Sentinel said failure to do so would be a double standard since Rep. Katie Hill resigned over a similar violation
Hastings represents Florida’s 20th Congressional District, which includes parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties. The staff member in question is Hastings’ aide and deputy district director Patricia Williams.
The tenured U.S. Rep admitted the two are involved, telling the Palm Beach Post, “However it looks, it’s been looking like that for 25 years.”
However, a rule change in 2018, which Hastings voted in favor of, prohibits members of Congress from having any sexual relationships with staffers. There is no exception for relationships that pre-date the rule.
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Williams has worked in Hastings office since 1993 and the two own a $700,000 home together. She also represented him in the 1980s when he faced bribery charges as a federal judge before she was disbarred as an attorney, the Sun Sentinel reported.
Williams is also the highest paid staffer in Hastings’ office with an annual salary of $168,412. Hastings defended Williams’ employment saying she has “worked with me from Day One … It would be one thing if she didn’t work, but she’s working today, and she has continued to work.”
The rule – which was established in the midst of the #MeToo movement – does not take into account an employee’s work ethic or whether the relationship is consensual.
This is not the first time Hastings has had an ethics complaint against him. In 2010 a former aide, Winsome Packer, accused Hastings of sexual harassment and won a settlement of $220,000 after a lengthy court battle.