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Richardson faces retaliation claims

A California Democrat is refuting charges of retaliation brought by from political aides, according to local media reports. The woman, Rep. Laura Richardson, claims that she never retaliated against her employees, and she alleges that the legal action taken against her is both unfounded and inappropriate.

An Aug. 2 action from the House condemned the woman for pressuring government staff to work on her campaign, which is deemed as a violation of Ethics Committee rules. The woman also received a reprimand from higher-ups for using House resources to pursue reelection. She allegedly used aides for personal errands and obstructed an ethics investigation, resulting in a fine of $10,000.

Even after the allegations were levied, officials say the woman continued to pressure government aides in attempts to prevent them from talking to investigators. She completely denies these accusations, saying that she has stayed within the rules since the sanctions were handed down in August. Her spokespeople confirm those assertions, saying that the woman had learned her lesson after the first reprimand.

Richardson's reputation as an unreasonable boss has not gone unnoticed on Capitol Hill. Although most representatives can be demanding, Richardson apparently borders on cruelty with her assistants. One former aide admitted that she would rather have been at war than continue to work for the woman.

House Ethics Committee members have warned Richardson not to obstruct their continuing investigation into her allegedly inappropriate conduct. Additionally, if the woman takes retaliatory measures toward her assistants, she may face sanctions and penalties that come from other authorities, according to committee members.

The committee even took the unusual step of writing letters to each of the woman's aides, encouraging them to report information to authorities. Information had been provided to indicate that the woman had prevented her employees from contacting committee members, which is why those communications were distributed.

The aides who have been mistreated may be entitled to compensatory damages if the representative is found culpable in this case.

Source: Politico, "Laura Richardson: Retaliation charges false," Jonathan Allen, Sept. 18, 2012

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