Democratic representative Alcee Hastings (Fla.) has paid his girlfriend the maximum congressional salary for the seventh straight year.
Patricia Williams, Hastings's longtime girlfriend, who first appeared on his payroll in 2000, received the maximum congressional salary of $168,411 throughout 2018, according to salary data posted to Legistorm, a government tracking website.
Williams has collected the maximum allowable salary since 2012, and has been compensated at a higher rate than Hastings's Washington, D.C., chief of staff, typically the highest paid position in a congressional office. Williams had been listed as district director out of Hastings's Broward County, Fla., office, but in March she switched titles to district chief of staff, which appears to be a newly created position.
Hastings, whose relationship with Williams dates back decades, also employs Williams's daughter in the Broward office.
Williams served as co-counsel alongside Hastings during his impeachment trial as a federal judge in the 1980s, when he was charged with "conspiracy and obstruction of justice for soliciting a $150,000 bribe in return for reducing the sentences of two mob-connected felons convicted in Hastings's court."
William Borders, a D.C.-based lawyer indicted with Hastings, was convicted in 1982, while Hastings was acquitted by a federal court in 1983.
"A year after Borders was convicted of conspiracy, the result of an FBI sting effort, Hastings's case came before the criminal court," the Senate Historical Office wrote. "Despite Borders's conviction, and the fact that Hastings had indeed reduced the sentences of the two felons, he was acquitted in a criminal court in 1983 and returned to his judicial post."
However, a later probe found that Hastings had tampered with evidence, conspired to accept bribes, and committed perjury.
The House of Representatives voted 413 to 3 to approve 17 articles of impeachment against Hastings, the most brought against any individual to that point. Hastings was the first judge to be charged while on a federal bench and in 1989 was ordered to be removed from office by the U.S. Senate.
The Senate, however, did not vote to disqualify him from holding future office. In 1992, Hastings was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
In addition to Williams and her daughter, the Democratic congressman brought Dona Nichol Jones, a convicted money-launderer, onto his full-time staff in Palm Beach last year, the Washington Free Beacon previously reported.
Nichol Jones is married to Mikel Jones, who worked for Hastings as a district administrator from 2003 to 2011, when he was convicted of 30 counts of fraud for an elaborate scheme to defraud a lender. Hastings quietly placed Nichol Jones onto his payroll as a "part-time" employee three years after the conviction and consequent firing of her husband.
Hastings has thrown his 2020 support behind Sen. Kamala Harris (D.,Calif.), who said that she was "proud to have" his endorsement. The endorsement was hailed by CNN as a major win for the California senator's efforts to win over southern black voters.
The publication failed to note any past controversies that engulfed the longtime Florida representative, including taxpayers footing a secretive $220,000 bill for Hastings to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit that was brought against him by a former staffer.
Hastings's office did not provide comment on the payments to Williams's and her responsibilities in the Broward County office by press time.