Alcee Lamar Hastings   Leave a comment


Alcee Lamar Hastings (born September 5, 1936) is the U.S. Representative for Florida’s 23rd congressional district, serving since 1993. He is a member of the Democratic Party.

 Early life and education

Born in Altamonte Springs, Florida, Hastings was educated at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee and Howard University in Washington, D.C. He received his law degree from Florida A&M University in 1963.

Early career

He began to practice law in 1964.

1970 U.S. Senate election

Hastings ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 1970, losing in the first primary to Lawton Chiles.

 Judicial career

In 1977, he became a judge of the circuit court of Broward County, Florida. In 1979, he was appointed by President Carter as a U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Florida.

  Impeachment

In 1981, Hastings was charged with accepting a $150,000 bribe in exchange for a lenient sentence and a return of seized assets for 21 counts of racketeering by Frank and Thomas Romano, and of perjury in his testimony about the case. He was acquitted by a jury after his alleged co-conspirator, William Borders, refused to testify in court (resulting in a jail sentence for Borders).

In 1988, the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives took up the case, and Hastings was impeached for bribery and perjury by a vote of 413-3. He was then convicted in 1989 by the United States Senate, becoming the sixth federal judge in the history of the United States to be removed from office by the Senate. The vote on the first article was 69 for and 26 opposed, providing two votes more than the two-thirds of those present that were needed to convict. The first article accused the judge of conspiracy. Conviction on any single article was enough to remove the judge from office. The Senate vote cut across party lines, with Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, voting to convict his fellow party member, and Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, voting to acquit.[1]

The Senate had the option to forbid Hastings from ever seeking federal office again, but did not do so. Alleged co-conspirator, attorney William Borders went to jail again for refusing to testify in the impeachment proceedings, but was later given a full pardon by President Bill Clinton on his last day in office.[2]

Hastings filed suit in federal court claiming that his impeachment trial was invalid because he was tried by a Senate committee, not in front of the full Senate, and that he had been acquitted in a criminal trial. Judge Stanley Sporkin ruled in favor of Hastings, remanding the case back to the Senate, but stayed his ruling pending the outcome of an appeal to the Supreme Court in a similar case regarding Judge Walter Nixon, who had also been impeached and removed.[3]

Sporkin found some “crucial distinctions”[4] between Nixon’s case and Hastings’s, specifically, that Nixon had been convicted criminally, and that Hastings was not found guilty by two-thirds of the committee who actually “tried” his impeachment in the Senate. He further added that Hastings had a right to trial by the full Senate.

The Supreme Court, however, ruled in Nixon v. United States that the federal courts have no jurisdiction over Senate impeachment matters, so Sporkin’s ruling was vacated and Hastings’s conviction and removal were upheld.

  1990 Secretary of State election

Hastings attempted to make a political comeback by running for Secretary of State of Florida, campaigning on a platform of legalizing casinos. In a three-way Democratic primary, he placed second with 313,758 votes, or 33%, behind newspaper columnist Jim Minter‘s 357,340 votes (38%) and ahead of former Ku Klux Klan Grand Dragon John Paul Rogers‘ 275,370 votes (29%). In the runoff, which saw a large dropoff in turnout, Hastings lost to Minter in a landslide, 300,022 votes to 146,375. Minter would go on to lose the general election to incumbent Republican James C. Smith.

  U.S. House of Representatives

 Elections

Hastings was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992, representing Florida’s 23rd district. After placing second in the initial Democratic primary for the post, he scored an upset victory over State Representative Lois J. Frankel in the runoff and went on to easily win election in the heavily-Democratic district. From that point on he has yet to face a serious challenge for reelection.

  Tenure

He was one of the 31 who voted in the House not to count the electoral votes from Ohio in the 2004 presidential election.[5]

Hastings voted to impeach Texas federal judge Samuel B. Kent on all four counts presented against him on June 19, 2009.[6]

In March 2010, defended the Democrats’ approach to passing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, saying “I wish that I had been there when Thomas Edison made the remark that I think applies here: “There ain’t no rules around here, we’re trying to accomplish something.” And therefore, when the deal goes down, all this talk about rules, we make them up as we go along.”[7]

Comments regarding Sarah Palin

On September 24, 2008, Hastings came under fire for controversial comments made regarding Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Hastings, speaking in Washington D.C. to a conference sponsored by the National Jewish Democratic Council, said “If Sarah Palin isn’t enough of a reason for you to get over whatever your problem is with Barack Obama, then you damn well had better pay attention. Anybody toting guns and stripping moose don’t care too much about what they do with Jews and blacks. So, you just think this through.” [8]

On September 29, 2008, Hastings issued an apology via a written statement, while standing by its core message: “I regret the comments I made last Tuesday that were not smart and certainly not relevant to hunters or sportsmen. The point I made, and will continue to make, is that the policies and priorities of a McCain-Palin administration would be anathema to most African Americans and Jews. I regret that I was not clearer and apologize to Governor Palin, my host where I was speaking, and those who my comments may have offended.”[9]

Use of Expense Allowance

According to the Wall Street Journal, Representative Hastings spent over $24,000 in taxpayer money in 2008 to lease a luxury Lexus hybrid sedan. The articles cited other examples of lawmakers spending comparable amounts on vehicle leases. In general, they highlighted some lavish personal benefits for members of Congress using public spending in comparison to typical US citizens. The expenditure was legal, properly accounted for, and drawn from an expense allowance the U.S. government grants to all lawmakers.[10]

Sexual Harassment Investigation

A Congressional Ethics Panel is looking into claims that Representative Hastings sexually harassed one of his staff members, the Wall Street Journal reports.[11] The investigation is the result of a lawsuit filed by Winsome Packer alleging Hastings made repeated unwanted sexual advances and threatened her job when she refused him. Packer is being represented by the conservative legal group Judicial Watch. Representative Hastings has denied the claims and called them “ludicrous.”[12]

Least Wealthy Congressman

In a 2011 survey of U.S. lawmakers, the Center for Responsible Politics named Hastings the “Poorest Member of Congress,” with a 2010 average net worth of -$4,732,002.[13] His congressional financial disclosure form indicated that, as of 2010, Hastings did not have any earned income, he had a bank account with a balance in $1,000 to $15,000 range, and he owed several million dollars in legal fees to several attorneys stemming from 1981-1989 charges.[14]

   Committee assignments

Overview

Hastings is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and was elected President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe in July 2004. Today, as a Senior Democratic Whip, Hastings is an influential member of the Democratic leadership. Representative Hastings is also a member of the powerful House Rules Committee and is a senior Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI). On the HPSCI, Hastings is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

Commitees
Leadership positions
House Intelligence Committee candidacy

After the 2006 United States House of Representatives elections, Hastings attracted attention after it was reported that incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi might appoint him as head of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Pelosi reportedly favored Hastings instead of the ranking Democrat Jane Harman due to policy differences and support for Hastings by the Congressional Black Caucus.[15]

On November 28, 2006, Pelosi announced that Hastings would not be the Committee’s chairman,[16] and later she chose Silvestre Reyes instead. While Representative Hastings was passed over to chair the committee he became chair of a sub-committee.

Advertisements

Posted February 19, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: