Rep. Hastings in hot water again

Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) is in ethics trouble again. As a federal judge in the 1980's, he was impeached on 16 counts by the senate back in 1989, including bribery. Now he has a sexual harrassment complaint against him:

The investigation of Mr. Hastings is being conducted by the Office of Congressional Ethics, the House's independent ethics investigative arm, and it is at a preliminary stage.

It began at least a month ago after Judicial Watch, a conservative group, filed a lawsuit as the legal counsel for Winsome Packer, a staffer on a commission Mr. Hastings headed. She alleged that she had been sexually harassed by the congressman and that he retaliated when she tried to report it.

At the time, Mr. Hastings was chairman of the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, a group set up in the 1970s to monitor a Cold-War era pact. Ms. Packer, a Republican, also worked for the commission.

Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch, said his organization has been contacted by House investigators. "We can confirm that Ms. Packer is cooperating with the Office of Congressional Ethics," he said.

Mr. Hastings didn't directly address the allegations in a recent interview.

"Quite frankly your source has as much or more information than I do and I would suggest you rely upon them," he said. "It would be impossible for me in a paragraph or a page or two or a tome or volumes one and two to help you understand the dynamics of these events. I'll leave it at that."

This is the second time in a year that Hastings has been a target of the Ethics Committee:

The House ethics committee said earlier this year that it dropped an investigation into how six lawmakers, including Mr. Hastings, spent federal overseas travel funds, citing a lack of evidence and confusing rules on the use of such money.

Sleaze seems to be this guy's middle name.

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