Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL), accused of “unwelcome sexual advances, crude sexual comments, and unwelcome touching” by a woman who worked at the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, blasted the Office of Congressional Ethics for conducting a “shoddy investigation” using “poor investigative techniques” when they recommended a House Ethics Committee probe of the matter.
The House Ethics Committee announced on Wednesday that it was declining to pursue a full investigation into the matter. An Oct. 13, 2011 OCE report released on Wednesday along with the committee’s announcement reveals that OCE was unable to “fully assess” the allegations because key witnesses refused to cooperate, but had recommended a full investigation by the Ethics Committee because there was “probable cause” that Hastings had broken ethics rules.
In a lengthy response to the Ethics Committee, Hastings said he was “deeply saddened and frustrated” that the inquiry had progressed to this point and said he has cooperated fully because he had “nothing to hide.” Hastings wrote that OCE should have considered that the complainant “is represented by Judicial Watch, a self-described conservative organization, which has targeted Democrats in general and me in particular.”
Hastings evidently deemed it necessary not only to deny acting inappropriately with the woman, but also to clarify that he was never sexually interested in her at all.
“I never have had a romantic or sexual interest in the complainant, nor did I ever express or otherwise intimate that I had any such interest in her, and her suggestions to the contrary are, to be blunt, fictitious,” Hastings wrote.
Hastings also said that OCE didn’t properly examine his accuser’s motives and conduct.
“Indeed, the Report presents evidence, not previously known to me, that the complainant wrote to [former Hastings aide] in November 2007 that she “had a crush on [me] since [she] first met [me],” Hastings wrote, referencing emails uncovered by OCE investigators.
In his interview with OCE investigators, Hastings does admit to some rather strange behavior alleged by the complainant, including a conversation with the woman about how he could not sleep well after sex. He said that when he discussed how he did not understand how female members of Congress could stay in their underwear for sixteen hours at a time, he was just “one-upping” others during an alcohol-fueled conversation and that his comment wasn’t “out of the blue.”