The Washington Times reported Monday that Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva is accused of creating a hostile work environment for a female employee and paid out nearly $50,000 to prevent a lawsuit. The Democrat is pushing back as he joins a growing list of congressmen accused of abusing their power.
Staff for the Tucson Democrat said he is unable to speak about the terms of the payout because of a non-disclosure agreement. But they said that following the report in the Washington Times, Grijalva asked to be released from that pact.
The congressman also demanded an apology from the Washington Times. He alleges that he and an unnamed employee worked with the House Employment Counsel to reach an agreement for a severance package. He said the payout came out of his committee operating budget.
"Every step of the process was handled ethically and appropriately," he said in a statement, Tuesday, adding: "The journalistic standards at the Washington Times are lax and the paper owes me an apology.”
The Times reported that Grijalva created a hostile work environment, was frequently inebriated and that the staffer threatened to sue. It reported the employee left after three months on the job.