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Report: Sexual harassment allegations against U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla.

Washington

Fla. Democrat said to face ethics inquiry

A congressional ethics panel is investigating allegations that Florida Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings sexually harassed a member of his staff, the Wall Street Journal reports. The investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics began at least a month ago after Judicial Watch, a conservative group, filed a lawsuit on behalf of Winsome Packer, a Republican staffer on the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. Hastings was chairman of the group. Packer alleged that she had been sexually harassed by the congressman and that he retaliated when she tried to report it. Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, told the Journal that his organization has been contacted by House investigators. "We can confirm that Ms. Packer is cooperating with the Office of Congressional Ethics," he said. Hastings told the newspaper, "Quite frankly your source has as much or more information than I do and I would suggest you rely upon them. 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."

CHICAGO

Storms cause delays at airports

Thunderstorms and heavy winds pounded the upper Midwest Tuesday night, leaving thousands stranded at Chicago's two major airports after their flights were canceled and temporarily delaying the departure of Vice President Joe Biden, who was in town for a fundraiser. More than 300 flights were canceled at O'Hare International Airport and more than 30 flights were canceled at Midway International Airport. Commonwealth Edison reported power outages to about 110,000 of the utility's customers. No tornadoes were immediately reported.

ALBANY, N.Y.

Gay marriage showdown looms

After a day of more closed-door negotiations, New York's Senate left unsettled a bill to legalize gay marriage, setting up a pivotal showdown today as lawmakers look to end the legislative session and national groups look for a sign of things to come on the divisive issue. The Assembly has already passed Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo's bill, and the issue appears to be one vote shy from approval in the Senate.

MADISON, Wis.

Concealed carry ban to be lifted

Lawmakers in Wisconsin, one of the last states to prohibit the carrying of concealed weapons, approved lifting the ban Tuesday and sent Republican Gov. Scott Walker a measure he is expected to sign into law. Once the measure takes effect this fall, Illinois will be the only state that bans carrying guns, knives and other concealed weapons.

Times wires

Report: Sexual harassment allegations against U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla. 06/22/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 22, 2011 12:48am]

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