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I read this blockbuster item in MSNBC's FirstRead, and my jaw dropped open upon reading the article below, which details Hillary Clinton's involvement with a company that has been accused of sexual harassment, and is currenty being investigated by the EEOC.

Sen. Hillary Clinton has declined to return $170,000 in campaign contributions from individuals at a company accused of widespread sexual harassment, and whose CEO is a disbarred lawyer with a criminal record, federal campaign records show.

Here's also what the EEOC had to say about the sexual harassment claims they are investigating at IPA:

"This is by far, hands down, the worst case I've ever experienced," said Diane Smason, one of the EEOC lawyers handling the lawsuit. "Every woman there experienced sex harassment, they were part of a hostile work environment of sex harassment. And this occurred from the top down."

Sen. Clinton’s spokesman, Howard Wolfson, told NBC News in a statement that the senator decided to keep the funds because the lawsuit is "ongoing" and because none of the sexual harassment allegations has been proven in court. "With regard to the pending harassment suit, as a general matter, the campaign assesses findings of fact in deciding whether to return contributions," Wolfson said.

Over 103 women are involved in the lawsuit against the company. Its CEO, Michael Burgess, is named as the worst offender by ten women in the case. Burgess has a criminal record as well, a conviction of grand larceny in 1987 then a disbarment in New York, and a conviction of patronizing a prostitute in 1984. Hillary Clinton has spoken at an IPA company event and rode on the company jet as well.

In May 2006, the New York Times brought Burgess's criminal history, and the allegations against IPA, to Sen. Clinton's attention. The May 7, 2006, article was titled "Rubbing Shoulders with Trouble, and Presidents." In the article, a spokeswoman for Sen. Clinton was quoted as saying the Senator was not aware of Burgess’s criminal past and "will be reviewing" the contributions.

It's been TWO years now and she still hasn't returned the contributions. Here's what people are saying about the fact that Hillary Clinton hasn't returned those contributions from Michael Burgess and others in his company:

"The fact that Hillary Clinton at this point is holding onto money from a contributor who has been charged with sexual harassment can only be perceived as insensitive to women's issues and women," says Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, Senior Scholar at the School of Policy, Planning and Development at the University of Southern California. "I don't think that fits the definition of feminism, at least the last time I looked."

Hillary, how can you do this? It's been two years since your aide spoke about reviewing the contributions, and now Wolfson says he'll return the contributions if Michael Burgess is convicted by the EEOC. Give me a break!

EDITED to reflect my comments below on this:

Hillary should return the contributions from the accused in the EEOC case, which other politicians have done since the company's ethical problems became known in 2000.


Those named in the EEOC suit are:

*John R. Burgess - Founder and Managing Director (Disbarred attorney and felon - while practicing law in New York, Burgess was found guilty of Grand Larceny in the first and second degrees for defrauding clients. The Superior Court for the State of New York declared that Burgess was a danger to society and therefore disbarred him. The State of Illinois followed in line and disbarred Burgess as well.)

12/15/2003 2000.00 24020051240
12/15/2003 2000.00 24020051240

02/17/2000 1000.00 20020140561
02/17/2000 1000.00 20020140561

*Gregg M. Steinberg - President of IPA - Involved with IPA for more than 10 years.

01/28/2004 -2000.00 24020243096
06/15/2005 -1800.00

12/15/2003 2000.00 24020051502
12/15/2003 2000.00 24020051502

04/16/2005 1900.00 25020301928

09/05/2007 2300.00  27931404810

*Kenneth E. Sweet, Esq. - Alledgely heavily involved in several highly questionable securities Choice Securities, and Reliance Worldwide Investments.

12/15/2003 2000.00 24020051510
12/15/2003 2000.00 24020051510

*Larry L Lang - Director of IPA Advisory & Intermediary Services

By my own count, Hillary Clinton hasn't returned $22,000 from the accused involved in the case. I'm doing more research into this matter.

Originally posted to slinkerwink on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 07:02 AM PST.

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