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Alcee Hastings

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Wage Disbursments

Patricia Williams, Staff Assistant: $129 000/year
Vanessa Griddine, Staff Assistant (Scheduler): $71 000/year
David Goldenberg, Legislative Director: $60 980/year
Fred Turner, Chief of Staff, $67 200/year

Vanessa has got to be one heck of a scheduler, nearly four grand a year more than the Chief of Staff.

This information is all public record and can be obtained from the Office of the Clerk House of Representatives

Friday, May 20, 2005

Was I the last to know?

Was I the last to know?
As much as I'd like to think that I'm the bearer of new and exciting news, a lot of the material in this blog has been covered before and is common knowledge in the district. Here's a reference to an old South Florida Sun-Sentinel article which covers just about everything on this blog..


The South Florida Sun-Sentinel had this to say about Alcee: “Personal and political paybacks are the first order of business for Hastings.” That’s because Hastings put his girlfriend, a disgraced former lawyer who was disbarred by the Florida Supreme Court for “multiple offenses,” on the public payroll as his “office liaison and staff assistant.” According to the Sentinel, Alcee Hastings owed her “more than $500,000 in legal fees for representing him during his 1983 bribery trial and his 1989 impeachment hearings before Congress.” Alcee Hastings continues to employ her to this day.

Alcee Hastings’ career seems to be filled with political corruption and scandal. The House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct is currently investigating Alcee Hastings for ethics violations. As if that weren’t bad enough, the disgraced former judge is also being investigated by the Florida Elections Commission and the Federal Election Commission for various charges of impropriety.


Remember that this guy took a trip to Ukraine to oversee the elections there, gives you a lot of confidence doesn't it?

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Binge in Brussels

Binge in Brussels
I would like to correct my earlier figure stating that Rep. Alcee Hastings and Vanessa Griddine spent about $18,000 in Belgium on their September 11-14, 2004 trip. The acutal figure according to the Congressional Record for November 16, 2004, is $14,193.44. $2972.00 of this was spent on diem for the lucky couple and a further 11,401.44 was spent on what must have been a marvelous flight across the pond.

So, my apologies for being off the mark. While we're on the subject of travel, however, we might as well make sure all the details are straight. It is after all one of the issues that Mr. Delay is taking a lot of heat right now, and Alcee Hastings is very concerned that the Ethics Committee has not taken Mr. Tom Delay's case more seriously.

You see, Alcee Hastings is a bit of an expert in the Congressional travel department, ranking number two in the House for spending a healthy $152,378 dollars over the past decade ( Political Money Line ).

In fact, Alcee Hastings has been basking in the warmth of a little unwelcome publicity over this issue as we see in this April 2, 2004 article from the Miami Herald...


One of the top five world travelers in the past decade was our own Congressman Alcee Hastings, says PoliticalMoneyLine, a Washington-based website. The Miramar Democrat spent $152,378 in taxpayer money on 57 trips to 116 countries. (The dollar figure doesn't include costs for staff or use of military aircraft.)

Alcee Hastings and Wexler -- members of the minority party in Congress who don't serve as committee chairman -- spent even more tax dollars on foreign travel than International Relations Committee Chairman Henry Hyde and former Intelligence Committee Chairman Porter Goss, who was appointed CIA director last year.

But staff for Alcee Hastings and Wexler argue that their trips were worthwhile and in the public's interest.

''He's not going to garden spots,'' Alcee Hastings spokesman Fred Turner said. ``He is flying back today from a trip to the Middle East that included Baghdad, Beirut and Damascus. . . . I don't think anybody thinks going to those places constitutes a taxpayer-funded vacation.''

A more scenic trip to Brussels also had a grave purpose: to attend an international conference on racism sponsored by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Alcee Hastings' most expensive journey: an $11,751 trip to Scotland in 2004, when he was elected president of the organization's parliamentary assembly.

''You can't get that kind of experience or expertise in Washington,'' Fred Turner said.

Voters expect a certain amount of travel by Congress, which regulates foreign trade and decides when we go to war. Lower on the political food chain, worldwide trips are harder to defend.


Beth Reinhard is the Herald's political writer. Call her at 954-527-8419.


Maybe Mr. Alcee Hastings isn't going only to garden spots, as his underpaid Chief of Staff Fred Turner notes, but a quick look at the list ( Political Money Line ) shows that 35 out of his 58 trips were to Western Europe and others included such backwaters as Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Australia, and New Zealand.

One might also observe that even though the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) has paid for all all of his previous Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) travel they didn't want to foot the bill for this conference in Brussels. Perhaps that's b/c Mr. Alcee Hastings wanted to spend the weekend of the 11-12th in Brussels before the two day conference . It's difficult for anyone to spend $2792 dollars in two days, even for this lovely couple. So, they did the responsible thing and got a head start.

I hope he brought you some chocolates Patricia....

Friday, May 06, 2005

Who Cares About Ethics?

Well, Alcee Hastings clearly does given his recent letter to Chairman Dreier.


He wants the Ethics Committee to go after Tom Delay, but he might not be so eager if he'd looked at some previous cases handled by the Committee. The following are from the Committee website.


"Rep. Adam Clayton (NY) 1967

Comm. on Education and Labor concluded funds were used for non-official travel and found “strong presumption” that wife did not perform the services for which she was paid with congressional funds (Jan. 3, 1967); Select Committee appointed by House recommended censure, $40,000 restitution and reduction of seniority (Feb. 23, 1967)
Excluded, 307-116 (March 1, 1967); seated after reelection to 91st Cong., fined $25,000 and seniority reduced, 254-158 (Jan. 3, 1969)"


Good thing Alcee Hastings hasn't "done the right thing" and married Patricia Williams, isn't it?


"Rep. Wayne L. Hays (OH) (1976)

Retained employee on public payroll for immoral purposes (1974-76)
Rep. Hays and other members requested Comm. investigate press allegations; Comm. ordered investigation (June 2, 1976)
Resigned prior to hearings (Sept. 1, 1976"


Hmm, paying good-looking young "administrative assistant" more than the chief of staff?


"Rep. Charles H. Wilson (CA) (1980)

....maintained person on payroll not performing duties commensurate with pay [R. 43(8)];
Agreed to amendment deleting denial of chairmanship from sanction, 261-148; censured, voice vote (June 10, 1980)
Defeated in primary (June 3, 1980)"


Both women do perform duties more than commensurate with pay, the duties just don't happen to be government related...

Perhaps Alcee Hastings should be looking closer to home if he's trying to clean up the House?

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Vanessa Griddine vs. Patricia Williams

Patricia Williams isn't stupid. She knows her man has been trying to sow his wild oats (at the age of 70, that's pretty impressive) and she knows it's probably with Vanessa Griddine. Vanessa Griddine is scared of Patricia Williams finding out, and Alcee Hastings leaves it to his underpaid staff to help cover his tracks. Despite being scared of Patricia, make no mistake, Vanessa Griddine is vying for Patricia Williams' spot.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Patricia Williams

"The Queen B" as those in the know like to call her. Listed as a staff assistant, Patricia Williams works in Alcee Hastings' Florida office for a staggering $129 000 a year. Seniority? More likely it's a combination of the following things:

1.) Patricia Williams was Alcee Hastings' lawyer while he was being charged for soliciting a bribe on the Federal bench, a case that led to his impeachment. She managed to get Alcee Hastings off, although his accomplice was found guilty. A few years later she was disbarred for mishandling client funds. What a beautiful team: an impeached federal court judge, and a disbarred lawyer, it's definitely the stuff that dreams are made of.

2.) As they are so obviously made for one another, it's only natural that a romance would develop. She has been Alcee Hastings' unofficial live in partner for long enough for her children to get used to calling him dad. Of course it's a violation of House Ethics rules to have a family member on the payroll, so they do like to keep seperate addresses. Even the Miami Herald commented on the relationship between the two, so this isn't news to everyone.

3.) Alcee Hastings owes Patricia Williams between $500 000-$1 000 000 for legal fees. That's hardly shocking, as he seems to owe everyone legal fees.

Vanessa Griddine

Is she a scheduler? Is she a staff assistant? Is she a Legislative Assitant? No one really knows, but one thing's for certain, her name is Vanessa Griddine, and she gets paid more than the D.C. Legislative Director and Chief of staff Fred Turner. All of these people are paid by the tax payers of the United States, at the discretion of Member of Congress Alcee L. Hastings.

Vanessa Griddine often goes weeks without going to work. Sometimes when she doesn't show up, she even sends an email to say she won't, usually she saves herself the effort. I don't believe she's ever once showed up to work on time, or five days a week. She shows up to trips to Europe with the Congressman though (Alcee Hastings that is). While Fred Turner gets a hefty diem courtesy of tax dollars when he travels with Alcee Hastings, even he doesn't get a trip to Brussels paid for by tax payers. Alcee Hastings and Vanessa spent 4 days in Brussels, without any committee backing, and used approximately $18 000. But that all schedulers were so lucky?

Surely not!? Not Alcee Hastings! But he hates it when Bush and other Republicans waste tax payers' money, right? Because the money should be helping low-income families? All these figures can be obtained through the clerk's office, as wage disbursements are published annually.

So why does this elusive member of staff get paid so much more than the diligent David Goldenberg and Fred Turner? Well folks, if her interview for the job (in person at Hastings' private residence one night) is any indication, she works a lot more nights than the boys do. Alcee Hastings rewards night shifts generously. Hence she's driving a new BMW while David Goldenberg the LD is stuck with a tired used car.