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Posted at 4:16 PM ET, 03/ 7/2011

Alcee Hastings, Fla. Democratic congressman, faces sexual harassment allegation

By Felicia Sonmez

Updated 7:18 p.m.

The conservative legal group Judicial Watch announced Monday that it has filed a lawsuit against Rep. Alcee Hastings, accusing the 10-term Florida Democrat of sexually harassing a policy adviser who worked on a commission that Hastings once chaired.

The lawsuit, filed Monday with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, accuses Hastings of making "unwelcome sexual advances" and taking retaliation against the female employee, Winsome Packer, from January 2008 to February 2010. Packer, a Republican, worked on the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, which Hastings had co-chaired until Democrats lost their House majority this year.

Also named as defendants in the lawsuit are the commission and its former staff director, Fred Turner.

According to the lawsuit, Hastings made repeated sexual advances toward Packer, including asking her to accompany him alone to his hotel room; asking her "humiliating and inappropriate" questions in public; and making unwanted physical contact, including "hugging her with both arms while pressing his body against her body and his face against her face."

The lawsuit alleges that after Packer declined the advances and reported them to her superiors -- including Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), another co-chairman of the commission -- Hastings and Turner took retaliatory moves against Packer, including repeatedly threatening her commission job and marginalizing her from her colleagues.

"Ms. Packer was particularly vulnerable to such threats because she was a Republican working for the Democratically-controlled Commission, a point that both Mr. Hastings and Mr. Turner used to threaten and intimidate her," the lawsuit alleges. "Eventually, the emotional distress, anxiety, and humiliation caused by the sexual harassment and retaliation caused Ms. Packer to suffer severe health problems and forced her to leave her prestigious position."

In a statement Monday, Hastings said he had not seen the Judicial Watch complaint, although he had seen a draft complaint prepared by the group containing "numerous inaccuracies and untruths." Turner did not return a call seeking comment.

"I have never sexually harassed anyone," Hastings said. "In fact, I am insulted that these ludicrous allegations are being made against me. When all the facts are known in this case, the prevailing sentiment will be, 'How bizarre!' I will win this lawsuit. That is a certainty. In a race with a lie, the truth always wins. And when the truth comes to light and the personal agendas of my accusers are exposed, I will be vindicated."

Judicial Watch, founded by former trade lawyer Larry Klayman in 1994, has a history of targeting lawmakers and administration officials, mostly Democrats. It filed at least 18 lawsuits against the Clinton administration in the 1990s, and in 2009, the group filed a lawsuit charging that Hillary Clinton was constitutionally ineligible to serve as secretary of state; the Supreme Court tossed out the case last year.

The group has also previously set its sights on Hastings, who has represented his south Florida district since 1992. In 2006, the group was among several pressuring then-House Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) not to appoint Hastings to chair the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, citing Hastings's impeachment by the House on charges of bribery and perjury in the 1980s. Pelosi eventually did not select Hastings for the post.

Meanwhile, Packer published a novel last year, "A Personal Agenda," which -- according to a June news release. -- details "the story of murder, power, racism and love in the political world."

"Inspired by her own experiences, Packer uses A Personal Agenda to recall the alienation, hostility and impropriety she experienced as a newcomer to Capitol Hill," reads the release for the novel, which was produced through the self-publishing service CreateSpace. The release quotes Packer as saying that in working on the Hill, "I felt that my civil rights had been encroached upon and given that the perpetrators have been others who had fought for their own rights, I found it to be sobering."

It was unclear whether Hastings sought was referring to the novel in his statement Monday, which featured the phrase "personal agendas" in bold and underlined type. A Hastings spokesman did not return a request for comment on the point.

By Felicia Sonmez  | March 7, 2011; 4:16 PM ET
 
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Comments

I'd believe this group when hell freezes over.

Posted by: missgirl | March 7, 2011 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Funny first name for the female employee - WINSOME.

Posted by: TaxiDriver | March 7, 2011 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Alcee Hastings = trash

Posted by: rpcv84 | March 7, 2011 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Alcee already has a least ONE strike ... so he's getting close to a strikeout for sure.

I'll believe his version of the story when hell freezes over!

Posted by: Hazmat77 | March 7, 2011 5:17 PM | Report abuse

A Democrat accused of sexual misconduct? What a surprise!

Posted by: liberalsareblind | March 7, 2011 5:19 PM | Report abuse

The Democratic Party smear machine is in full gear! Accuse a Democrat of something, especially if you are a woman, and they will destroy you!


The Democratic Party is a cancer on the soul of America.

Posted by: FormerDemocrat | March 7, 2011 5:21 PM | Report abuse

The group she selected to represent her has an agenda therefore she will have to prove her case. It will be interesting.

Posted by: rlj611 | March 7, 2011 5:27 PM | Report abuse

There is a pattern here. Democrat male harasses female, and Republican male harasses another male. You would think Republican does not like fags.

Posted by: drkly | March 7, 2011 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Why did she choose a bunch of political hacks to represent her? She loses a lot of credibility from the start.

Posted by: PepperDr | March 7, 2011 5:45 PM | Report abuse

There is a pattern here. Democrat male harasses female, and Republican male harasses another male. You would think Republican does not like fags.

Posted by: drkly | March 7, 2011 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Were you refering to Barney Frank?

On the other, Alcee Hastings is a member of the Black Congressional Congress and everybody know that each and every member of this organization are as clean as the driven snow.

Posted by: sales7 | March 7, 2011 5:52 PM | Report abuse

You are now beginning to cover the 2parties in the 2chambers? Too bad you had to start with this for the Dems.

Posted by: FoundingMother | March 7, 2011 6:03 PM | Report abuse

This guy should have been in prison years ago. But he was a favorite of Hillary Clinton who put him high on her personal pedestal. Too many in Washington and yes even on TV's Fox , are afraid to open their mouths when a Negro trots out to do the dirty work. Look at how Holder has turned a blind eye to the Yellow Panthers and their trampling of the Constitution . Or how ACORN has done it's dirty work .

Posted by: puck-101 | March 7, 2011 6:09 PM | Report abuse

"Hastings, a former federal judge, was removed by the U.S. Senate in 1989 on findings of bribery and perjury" from CNN article. With that said, does Hasings have an creditable? NO. What a scum bag.

Posted by: Oregon68 | March 7, 2011 6:39 PM | Report abuse

"Hastings, a former federal judge, was removed by the U.S. Senate in 1989 on findings of bribery and perjury" from CNN article. With that said, does Hasings have an creditablity? NO. What a scum bag.

Posted by: Oregon68 | March 7, 2011 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Alcee Hastings a crime waiting for an opportunity just like the paid Soros stooge that we elected president BO.

Posted by: DCalle10411111 | March 7, 2011 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Gee - hastings is a black Democrat...which means he can do whatever he wants and the Dems will do nothing,just ask Rangel and Waters.

Posted by: Realist201 | March 7, 2011 7:33 PM | Report abuse

The guy is a creep. That said have you ever noticed the only difference between male Dem and GOP politician sexual harassers? A: The GOP harass young boys.

Posted by: rcc_2000 | March 7, 2011 7:48 PM | Report abuse

I unfortunately live within this clowns district (23rd).
Even the blacks down here, refer to Hastings as a "two dollar pimp"

Posted by: Defund_NPR | March 7, 2011 8:39 PM | Report abuse

A Republican would resign. A Democrat just moves on to another victim.

Impeach Obama.

Posted by: JCM-51 | March 7, 2011 8:54 PM | Report abuse

To reply to

A Republican would resign. A Democrat just moves on to another victim.

Impeach Obama.

Posted by: JCM-51 | March 7, 2011 8:54 PM |

David Vitter, Ensign of Nevada,Gingrich when impeaching Clinton and doing the exact same time, whiel the wife was in the hospital with CANCER you must be an !diot or ignorant, maybe both?

Posted by: corintonic | March 7, 2011 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Once a convicted felon degenerate democrat poverty pimp racist, always a convicted felon degenerate democrat black racist poverty pimp. The negro bigots who elected this sleaze deserve him. We don't.

Posted by: carlbatey | March 7, 2011 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Enough with the party-specific back and forth. No party has cornered the market on this silliness. Face it, politicians have a problem with keeping it in their pants.

Posted by: jckdoors | March 8, 2011 8:32 AM | Report abuse

This is nothing more then a resume enhancement for a dem. You can tell by the way NOW and all the other left leaning group handle it. Anybody remember when the last time any dem got picketed by NOW or any left leaning women group for this kind of stuff?

Posted by: tateofpa | March 8, 2011 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Oh c'mon you're just picking on little old Alcee because he's black..

Posted by: wewinyoulose1 | March 8, 2011 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Well at least the Post labeled him as a democrat. That is a nice change of pace. I have no doubt that were he a reblican this would be on the front page fro weeks. Macacca

Posted by: j751 | March 8, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse

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