Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty won't seek re-election after handling of abuse case

Embattled Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-Conn., announced Monday she will not seek reelection this year following reports that her chief of staff kept his job for three months in 2016 after he threatened to kill a former colleague. "However, I have determined that it is in the best interest of my constituents and my family to end my time in Congress at the end of this year and not seek re-election".

After facing calls to resign from some of the state's top Democrats, Ms. Esty had earlier on Monday asked the House Ethics Committee to investigate whether she committed wrongdoing or violated any "law, rule or regulation" in her handling of the matter.

Mae Flexer, a Democratic state senator in CT, on Monday told CNN host Brooke Baldwin that Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D., Conn.) should resign immediately over allegations of harassment by her former chief of staff.

"I think that's disappointing, I think we've had a lot of time to evaluate the decisions that the congresswoman made and I think many people have come to the determination that her actions were inexcusable, and I wish she came to a different conclusion sooner", stated State Representative Mae Flexer, Connecticut. "I implore the Senate to act now to pass meaningful reform". Baker has denied the allegations.

The National Republican Campaign Committee's communications director Matt Gorman said Esty's "cover up over her staffer's domestic violence scandal was as reprehensible as it was morally bankrupt".

"To the survivor, I want to express my strongest apology for letting you down", Esty said Monday. In the awful situation in my office, I could have and should have done better.

Baker was sacked three months after an internal investigation was completed.

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Esty's seat was already on the DCCC's list of vulnerable incumbents, probably more because Hillary Clinton carried the district narrowly, 50 percent to 46 percent, over Donald Trump. "At which point, I hired a new chief of staff, made changes to senior staff, changed employment policy, and instituted mandatory harassment trainings". At the time, the source said, no one from the Democratic leadership was pressuring her to resign.

Esty spent the holiday weekend hunkering down and working the phones to gauge her political damage over her handling of the allegations, a source close to the congresswoman told CNN.

A week after learning of the allegations against Baker in May 2016, Esty launched an internal review. Esty, who is an outspoken advocate for the #MeToo movement, also signed a nondisclosure agreement and agreed to write a reference letter despite the allegations.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi commended Esty's former employee Anna Kain for coming forward and telling her story.

The Post obtained emails that revealed Esty was informed of the May 5, 2016 threat six days later and forced Baker to undergo counseling but did not fire him.

Kain provided The Washington Post with a voicemail documenting the threat, which resulted in the issuance of a restraining order against Baker.

However, news reports last week revealed that Baker received a $5,000 taxpayer-funded severance payment from Esty, as well as a recommendation that landed him a job at the pro-gun control group Sandy Hook Promise.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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