Elizabeth Esty won't seek reelection amid scrutiny of chief of staff's departure

Casey Dawson
April 4, 2018

National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Matt Gorman said Esty's announcement marked "a sad day for Connecticut's 5th district". Esty, who was facing calls to resign from prominent CT politicians from both parties, wrote in a Facebook post that she had decided it was in the best interest of her constituents and her family to retire from Congress at the end of the year.

"Although we worked with the House Employment Counsel to investigate and ultimately dismiss this employee for his outrageous behavior with a former staffer, I believe it is important for the House Ethics Committee to conduct its own inquiry into this matter", Esty said in a written statement, acknowledging "it certainly was far from a flawless process". Esty said she fired Baker about three months later after receiving an internal investigation report that revealed improper behavior by Baker that affected multiple female staffers.

Esty is again apologizing to a female former member of her staff who said she was punched in the back and received death threats in 2016.

Esty asked the committee to "clarify whether there was any wrongdoing on my part".

It would take until mid-July of 2016 before Julie Sweet, a former top aide selected by Esty to conduct the probe, finally met with staffers, including Kain. "The decision she made today is the right one for her, and I look forward to working with her during the remainder of her term".

"Too many women have been harmed by harassment in the workplace", Esty, a Democrat from CT, said in a statement. Esty has been a vocal advocate for stronger gun laws but has been mostly unable to pass any new federal legislation since the 2012 shooting. When it appeared he might get the job, Ricci said, Baker called Esty to let her know he interviewed with the organization for an advocacy job in Ohio.

Kain declined a one-on-one meeting with Sandler, arranged by Esty, without her lawyer present. "While there are still many who I owe apologies to, I do not expect forgiveness from anyone, whether they are survivors like Anna or victims like Elizabeth and others".

"I think the number one reason is that, in totality, Congresswoman Esty handled the situation very poorly". "It certainly was far from a ideal process - and I would appreciate their advice, counsel, and review". "At which point, I hired a new chief of staff, made changes to senior staff, changed employment policy, and instituted mandatory harassment trainings".

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Esty is the ninth member of Congress to leave over harassment allegations.

She had been seeking guidance from colleagues, both in Congress and in her home state, taking their temperature and getting their advice on how she should navigate this controversy. It was closer in 2012, when she won by just 2 points.

The move by Esty to not seek reelection comes after various CT politicians called on her to resign.

"You better fucking reply to me or I will fucking kill you", Baker told her in the message, according to the recording obtained by the Post. She acknowledged that she did not adequately protect Kain, has vowed to "do better" and has apologized but says she would not resign. Esty kept Baker on her payroll for three months after learning of the accusations against him, CNN has confirmed.

Esty told the network that when she learned of the death threat, she immediately demanded that Baker go through counseling, but only later did she learn it "was not an isolated incident, but part of a pattern of behavior that victimized numerous women on my staff".

Esty and Baker signed a nondisclosure agreement concerning the details of his termination.

The Connecticut Post, which broke the story, reported that Baker was paid a $5,000 severance with taxpayer money through a non-disclosure agreement.

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