Sen. Bernie Sanders' top 2016 campaign adviser accused of sexual misconduct

Nellie Chapman
January 13, 2019

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Thursday acknowledged and apologized for any sexual harassment or mistreatment of women who worked on his 2016 presidential campaign. Sanders also said he wasn't aware of a reported $30,000 USA settlement to resolve a discrimination claim against his 2016 campaign. He also denied knowing about a discrimination settlement reached with his campaign that was disclosed in a Politico story.

In his apology Thursday, Sanders admitted the campaign's "standards and safeguards were inadequate". "What they experienced was absolutely unacceptable and certainly not what a progressive campaign or any campaign should be about", Sanders said.

"I'm not going to sit here and tell you we did everything right in terms of human resources", said Sanders.

The anonymous staffer, who is in her 20s, and other witnesses told Politico Becker said he wanted to have sex with her while at the Philadelphia bar. "I was a little bit busy running around the country trying to make the case", Sanders said last week during a CNN interview.

Sanders, who said his 2018 re-election campaign to the U.S. Senate enacted more stringent and efficient policies to deal with sexual harassment, added that there needs to be a "cultural revolution" in America to fundamentally change the way women are treated in the workplace.

The Vermont independent is confronting the allegations against some of his senior staff as he weighs a second run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.

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The woman did not report the incident at the time since the campaign was finished but has come forward now as Becker has been involved with potential 2020 groundwork.

According to Wednesday reports, Jeff Weaver will not lead the potential campaign despite being a longtime member of Sanders' inner circle and managing his 2016 campaign for president.

"I categorically deny these allegations of improper and unprofessional conduct", Becker said, adding that the alleged assault is "at odds with my recollection of a late evening filled with many hugs and kisses and tears and conversations about what's next".

"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 who alleged the sexual misconduct told Politico. This can't happen in 2020. "You can't run for President of the United States unless you acknowledge that every campaign demands a safe work environment for every employee and volunteer".

Todd noted that other accusations had drawn a sense of a "pervasive culture of toxic masculinity" on the 2016 campaign.

Allegations of sexual misconduct and an "untenable and risky dynamic that developed during [the Sanders] campaign" have dogged the Vermont senator in recent weeks, according to Politico.

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