The House Ethics Committee said Thursday it is investigating U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings’ relationship with his longtime girlfriend, who is on the government payroll.
The Ethics Committee didn’t identify the staffer in question, but the case clearly refers to Patricia Williams, the deputy director in Hastings’ office in his Broward-Palm Beach County district.
Williams, who is the Democratic congressman’s highest-paid staffer, and Hastings have been in a relationship for decades. And critics have raised questions about it for years.
But there’s been a sea change in society’s attitudes toward employer-employee relationships. The emergence of the #MeToo movement, in which powerful men in business, politics and the media came under new scrutiny for forcing women into sex, prompted a 2018 House rule change that prohibited sexual relationships between members of Congress and their employees.
There isn’t any indication that the Hastings-Williams relationship isn’t consensual, but the relationship appears to violate the rule that states a member of Congress “may not engage in a sexual relationship with any employee of the House who works under the supervision” of the member or on a committee on which the member serves. It doesn’t apply to couples who are married. (Read more from “Another Investigation Launched Over Congressman’s Relationship With Staffer” HERE)