Rep. Alcee Hastings (D., Fla.) continues to pay his longtime girlfriend the maximum congressional salary of $168,411, and has paid her nearly $2.4 million in salary since 2000.
Hastings also employs his girlfriend's daughter and the wife of a former staffer who was previously convicted of money laundering.
Patricia Williams, the longtime girlfriend who served as co-counsel during Hastings' impeachment trial as a federal judge in the 1980s, has worked out of the congressman's office since 1993. Williams started working for Hastings as a staff assistant and has since been promoted to deputy district director in his Broward County, Florida office.
The gig has proved lucrative for Williams, who has pocketed millions in salary since 2000, the first year that salary figures are publicly available from Legistorm.
Williams collected $21,250 for a partial year of work as a staff assistant in 2000, and was paid $98,000 in 2001. In 2002, her salary shot up to $121,307.
Williams' salary gradually increased to $125,975 by 2005. She pulled in $623,003 during her time as a staff assistant from 2000 to 2005 .
Williams took over as deputy district director in Hastings' Broward County office in 2006, a move that coincided with another generous salary bump to $143,314. Williams continued to receive yearly salary increases until her salary peaked at $168,411 in 2012, the maximum that can be paid to a congressional staffer.
Williams was paid $168,411 again in 2016, according to recently released fourth quarter congressional data. This was fifth straight year she was paid the maximum amount.
Williams is the highest-compensated member of Hastings' staff. She earns more than his D.C. chief of staff, the employee who is typically the highest-paid in a congressional office. Williams has now pulled in nearly $2.4 million in salary since 2000.
Hastings also employs Patricia's daughter, Maisha, as a staff assistant at his Broward County office. Maisha was given the position in 2011.
Hastings' history with Patricia Williams dates back to the 1980s, when Williams served as co-counsel during his impeachment trial as a federal judge.
In 1981, Hastings 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' court."
William Borders, a D.C.-based lawyer who was indicted alongside Hastings, was convicted in 1982 following an FBI sting. Hastings was acquitted by a criminal court in 1983, although a probe later found that Hastings had tampered with evidence, committed perjury, and conspired to accept bribes. Williams worked as his co-counsel throughout the trial.
In 1988, the House of Representatives voted 413 to 3 to approve 17 articles impeachment against Hastings, the highest number of articles brought against any person to that point.
The U.S. Senate ordered Hastings to be removed from his position as a federal judge, making him one of only six people removed from the bench. The Department of Justice noted that Hastings was the first sitting judge to be charged with a crime while on the federal bench.
In addition to Williams and her daughter, Hastings employs the wife of a former staffer who was convicted of money laundering.
Mikel Jones, who served as a district administrator for Hastings from 1993 to 2011, and wife Dona Nichols-Jones were convicted in 2011 of money laundering, conspiracy, and fraud after using $600,000 from a business loan for personal use.
The husband and wife created shell companies and fake invoices to funnel money to themselves. They used the money to pay credit card bills, buy groceries, and purchase sporting event tickets.
Dona Nichols-Jones, who was ordered to pay $400,000 in restitution and serve one day in prison, began receiving payments from Hastings in April 2014 for "part-time" work.
From April to December 2014, Nichols-Jones was paid $15,124.97 for part-time work. She was paid $20,499.96 in 2015 and $29,208.32 last year.
Hastings' office did not return requests for comment by press time.
Published under: Congress