Alcee Hastings' Scandals Collide in Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

A sexual harassment suit filed against Congressman Alcee Hastings combines two of the Miramar Democrat's weaknesses -- taxpayer-paid globetrotting and women underlings he has had in the government's employ. 

hastingspacker.jpg
Rightklik
Packer and Hastings
​Winsome Packer, the former high-level Capitol Hill policy adviser suing Hastings for sexual harassment, claims he made numerous unwanted sexual advances toward her as they traveled around the world on Congressional business to Vienna, Copenhagen, Kiev, and Lisbon, among other places.

Packer, who served as Hastings' representative on the Helsinki Commission, also alleges that after Hastings appointed her to her $165,000-a-year position as his representative on the commission, he told of her romantic relationships with two other staffers in his D.C. office -- one of whom was a frequent companion of the Miramar Democrat on some of his controversial international trips. 

Hastings' high-rolling travel was exposed in a Wall Street Journal report published last March as one of the biggest spenders on Capitol Hill. A subsequent report by Political Money Line found that Hastings had racked up $152,328 in congressional travel expenses in the decade ending in 2005, making him the second-highest travel spender in the House during that time. The travel included 57 trips to 116 countries, and the expenses included gifts and other items that appeared to be improper expenditures. 

Much of the money was paid in controversial per diem payments that go without documentation. From the Wall Street Journal article: 

"You are all concerned about nickels and dimes, and I'm not," said Rep. Alcee Hastings (D., Fla.). "You know, in a taxicab in Kazakhstan, I don't have time to get a receipt -- I don't speak Kazakh."

In a subsequent interview, Mr. Hastings said he had time to gather receipts, but didn't.

Mr. Hastings said he sometimes used the extra taxpayer money to buy gifts, meals or drinks for military pilots, security officials and interpreters who travel with him. On a trip earlier this year to the Middle East, Mr. Hastings gave $100 to an Iraqi refugee, he said.

"I'm a generous spirit and a courteous spirit," Mr. Hastings said. "I stand accused."

One trip detailed in the Political Money Line report was a three-day jaunt to Belgium with his former staff assistant, Vanessa Griddine, in 2004 that cost taxpayers $14,193. Other published reports indicate Griddine accompanied Hastings on congressional trips Austria, Italy, Russia, Britain, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Lebanon.

As it happens, Griddine, long whispered to have been a girlfriend of Hastings, received an ignominious mention in Packer's lawsuit, which was filed yesterday by the conservative group Judicial Watch. The lawsuit also makes mention of Hastings' romantic relationship with
his deputy staff director, Patricia Williams. Packer claims Hastings told her of romantic relationships with both staffers during a dinner in Vienna in May 2008. From the lawsuit: 

griddinevanessa.jpg
Griddine
​"At dinner the same evening, in a conversation initiated by Mr. Hastings, he commented to Ms. Packer that the only reason he was dating Patricia Williams, the Deputy District Director, was because she had been his counsel in his bribery and impeachment trials that resulted in his impeachment and removal from the federal bench. He also confided to her that he had been dating another staff member, Vanessa Griddine, but that she was 'not worthy.'"

Griddine has been the subject of rumors involving Hastings in the right-wing press for several years, in part fueled by the fact that he put her on the congressional payroll at a salary of more than $71,000 a year -- more than he paid his legislative director and his chief of staff in the D.C. office (longtime local chief of staff Art Kennedy is paid in excess of $160,000 a year).

Hastings has also been romantically linked to Patricia Williams in previous published reports -- an ethically dubious relationship at best. Williams, who was dating Hastings at the time he was under investigation by the FBI in 1991, did indeed represent Hastings during his bribery and impeachment trials that left him in debt to Williams for hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

Williams was disbarred after representing Hastings for misappropriating clients' money, but she's had no problem making a very nice salary. Hastings made Williams the deputy staff director of his D.C. office. Last year, he paid her a whopping $162,661 on the taxpayers' dime, according to Legistorm.com. 

More to come later on the lawsuit. 

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16 comments
Trinity Ellis
Trinity Ellis

Unfortunately for these innocent people, Ms. Packer's claim is most likely intended to spark interest in her book in which she discusses sexual harrassment. Oh, the lives we destroy in search of undeserved recognition.

On a petty note--did you intentionally post this pic of Packer in her 20s or 30s to make her look more vulnerable to sexual harrassment? Because this is most certainly not what she looks like now-50s. And of Hastings and Griddine looking silly? Where's Williams? Maybe, I'm overly observant.

disillusioned
disillusioned

pulp i told you several times he is a story, our impeached federal judge who the local paper backs every time, makes a ton of money includind the few hundred thou he collects avery 2 year for his unopposed campaigns that he can spend on himself, the story is there u spend most of your time on petty crooks at the school bors etc .

Kevin Hill
Kevin Hill

He's traveled to 116 countries..... there are still 116 countries?

And Kazakstan? "It's a very niiice!!" Did he meet Borat's sister.... she is village prostitute.

Sorry. I couldn't resist.

isauwhit
isauwhit

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TwoCents
TwoCents

It's easy to be generous with money that NOT YOURS. Look at Greedstein.

Mitch Seizure
Mitch Seizure

I don't blame Buckwheat for trying to hit that. All the same, I'm having some serious Schadenfreude over here. Maybe this will be the end of Buckwheat's political life, his totally ignorant constituents notwithstanding,

lifelongyankfan
lifelongyankfan

George W. Bush's good Christian buddy, the CEO of Blackwater, made major contributions to the Bush-Cheney and other GOP campaigns. Inreturn, he got billions in no-bid contracts, and his truck drivers in Iraq were making $100,000 a year. The Bush people also "lost" $8 billion in cash in Iraq at the start of the war. These are just the tip of the iceberg. Compared to the Bush evildoers, Alcee is a piss ant.

Nucky Thompson
Nucky Thompson

Hey Pulp , can you get me the name of Alcee's travel agent because they are doing a fantastic job ? 57 trips, 116 countries plus gifts and other expenditures and it only came to $152,328 , that's an amazing bargain. What was Alcee's regular mode of transport..canoe ?

Virgil Starkwell
Virgil Starkwell

I thought after Borat was released, everyone speaks a little Kazakh.

Jagshemash! I like sex!

Steve-O
Steve-O

Another good Democrat.

Akeembob
Akeembob

Mitch (love the non de plume),

No way in hell his bat shit crazy constituency gives a damn about this. He will get win if he runs again. Look at his history. Short of a murder rap, and there better be a conviction, he wins hands down. Many of the same voters keep voting for the Meek family trust which is funded soley by politicial contributions, developers donating Escalades and our tax dollars.

Liberals R  Pigs
Liberals R Pigs

I GUESS IT WILL BE GEORGE'S FAULT FOR THE NEXT 100 YEARS!!!

Imjustsayin
Imjustsayin

Hitler ordered the deaths of tens of millions of people. Stalin and Mao killed scores of millions of their own countrymen. Pol Pot put several million to death and enslaved another several million of his own people. Compared to them, the Bush evildoers are piss ants...............But what the fuck does any of that have to do with Alcee Hastings spending taxpayer money to get laid in foreign countries?

Gator
Gator

I was thinking the same thing -- this comes out to less than $2,700 per trip.

I flew up to NYC for a long weekend last month and spent almost that much.

Ind_Thinker
Ind_Thinker

Get with the program 'sayin. Distract and deflect. You should know how it works by now.

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