Ethics Committee Sanctions Freedom Caucus Chair
The News & Observer reports:
Meadows, chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, also received a reprimand from the committee, which began an investigation in 2016 after getting a referral from the independent Office of Congressional Ethics.
“Meadows’ failure to take prompt and decisive action to deal with the alleged sexual harassment in his congressional office was troubling,” the committee wrote in its report released Friday afternoon.
The case stems from allegations of sexual harassment made by multiple female staffers in Meadows’ office against his then-Chief of Staff Kenny West in 2014 and 2015. Meadows changed West’s title to senior adviser, but kept him on staff for months. West later resigned, but was paid his full salary for another two months and received travel reimbursement during that time, according to the committee’s report.
Meadows won his fourth term earlier this month.
The committee also determined that Meadows did not act quickly enough to prevent future predatory behavior by West and only removed him from the position of chief of staff after Speaker Paul Ryan's office became involved in April 2015.
The committee concluded "West’s behavior toward female staff was inappropriate in every sense of the world," adding "there is no place in any congressional office for looking up skirts, or down shirts; staring at a woman’s chest; unwanted touching; or making sexual comments, even if subtle or in jest."