Democratic Rep. Elizabeth Esty won't seek re-election after botched sexual harassment case

Dem Rep. Esty Won't Run For Reelection After Office Sexual Harassment Debacle
Drumbeat for Esty resignation grows louder
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03 April, 2018

"It's completely unacceptable. Her failure to do the right thing here hurt us all, especially as more and more women are courageously coming forward".

Her case involved a cover-up of some pretty bad behavior by her chief of staff, Tony Baker, who made a death threat on the voice mail of a former staffer, Anna Kain, whom he once dated.

Citing "the spirit of transparency", Esty is asking the House Ethics Committee to review the 2016 incident and determine "whether there was any wrongdoing on my part".

In a statement, Matt Gorman, the spokesman for the National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC) said: "Today is a sad day for Connecticut's 5th District". But for Republicans, the sudden drama could create a rare, if still long-shot, opportunity to offset this year's likely House losses with an even rarer blue-state pickup.

She went on to express regret for her actions.

Elizabeth Esty, a Democratic Congresswoman from CT, won't seek reelection in November, saying she mishandled a 2016 investigation into allegations that her former chief of staff harassed and abused a colleague.

A spokesman for Baker told Hearst Connecticut Media and the Washington Post that he denies some of the allegations.

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Esty told the network that when she learned of the death threat, she immediately demanded that Baker go through counseling, but only later did she learn it "was not an isolated incident, but part of a pattern of behavior that victimized numerous women on my staff".

"In Congress, and workplaces across the country, we need stronger workplace protections and to provide employees with a platform to raise concerns, address problems, and work to reduce and eliminate such occurrences", Esty said in a statement. Esty also signed a non-disclosure agreement that prevented her from discussing Baker's departure. Esty has said she fired Baker three months later after receiving an internal investigation report that revealed improper behavior by Baker that affected multiple female staffers.

Esty said in announcing her decision not to run for re-election that she "could have and should have done better" to protect women in her office from harassment.

The Democrat issued a statement Monday saying she has determined it's in the best interest of her constituents and her family to end her time in Congress at the end of this year "and not seek re-election". "It certainly was far from a flawless process - and I would appreciate their advice, counsel, and review". "I feel terribly for the victim of abuse".

As pressure built over the weekend, Esty said several times that she would not resign.

According to WTVA, members of the House of Representatives received a "dear colleague" letter this morning from Esty offering an explanation of her actions in the scandal. Esty had raised more than $1.2 million, while her main GOP challenger, a former IT worker who blamed immigration policies for the loss of his job, had raised just over $13,000.

Andrew Ricci, a friend of Baker's who has spoken on his behalf, released a statement from Baker following the news Esty would not run again.


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