Bernie Sanders adviser accused of harassing female staffer in 2016

Sanders Apologizes for Harassment Among 2016 Campaign Staff

A top adviser for Bernie Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign stands accused of forcibly kissing a woman staffer and making a reference to her riding his "pole" at a hookah bar after the Democratic National Convention had concluded, Politico reported Wednesday.

Becker, 50, has denied the allegations.

Politico reported Wednesday night that the head of Sanders's Iowa caucus campaign in 2016 has been accused of forcibly kissing a female subordinate on the final night of the Democratic National Convention in July 2016. But accounts of harassment from women who worked on his last campaign threaten to tarnish his image as a progressive and come at a time when female voters are central to the Democratic Party's strategy for defeating President Donald Trump.

"It just really sucks because no one ever held him accountable, and he kept pushing and pushing and seeing how much he could get away with", the woman said. The victim did not formally report the incident at the time, but said she's now coming forward to ensure this doesn't happen again in 2020. Sanders had issued an apology and said he wasn't aware of the incidents at the time. He said he considered the allegation to be credible.

Part of those changes include Weaver not returning to his role as campaign manager in any future Sanders presidential bid.

Sanders said his 2018 Senate re-election campaign instituted "some of the strongest sexual harassment policies in the country". Friends of Bernie Sanders also called Becker's alleged misconduct "deplorable and fundamentally unacceptable". He also denied knowing about a discrimination settlement reached with his campaign that was disclosed in a Politico story. "My singular concern during this entire process was to assess whether an individual would be an outstanding political organizer-no other factors played into our hiring decisions".

Former campaign staffers wrote a letter to the senator in December to request a meeting with him and his advisers about "the issue of sexual violence and harassment on the 2016 campaign" in order to "mitigate the issue in the upcoming presidential cycle".

The woman warned about sexual misconduct on campaigns in a statement to Politico, saying no one should be allowed to run for president until they can guarantee a safe work place.

Sen. Sanders addressed the allegations on CNN in a manner that some regarded as dismissive.

He continued, "To the women in that campaign who were harassed or mistreated I apologize".

Over two dozen 2016 campaign staff alumni wrote a letter seeking a meeting with Sanders to "discuss the issue of sexual violence and harassment on the 2016 campaign, for the objective of planning to mitigate the issue in the upcoming presidential cycle".

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