Mel Watt Accuser Invited to Testify Before House Panel on Thursday
Simone Grimes, the woman who accused Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Mel Watt of sexual harassment, has been invited to testify before the House Financial Services Committee on Thursday. Her lawyer said she met with both Democratic and Republican staff on the committee on Tuesday. Grimes, a senior FHFA employee, alleged that 73-year-old Watt engaged in “unwelcome and unwanted sexual advances” toward her and repeatedly tied her professional advancement to his sexual interest in her. She has filed harassment and retaliation claims against Watt, seeking damages and other relief. Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), a colleague of Watt from when he served in Congress, asked the Committee’s Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) to allow Grimes to appear before the committee. “We must face the reality that women throughout all sectors feel that existing practices and procedures have worked against them and left them silenced when they have complaints about discrimination and harassment,” said Waters in the letter to Hensarling sent on Monday, citing the “seriousness of this matter.” He had previously declined a request by Grimes to testify, according to the WSJ. The hearing was expected to focus on FHFA’s oversight of housing-finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Coincidentally, Grimes will appear on the same day Dr. Christine Ford is set to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee to answer questions from an outside counsel about her accusations against SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh. More here.