TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Rep. Raul Grijalva is speaking out after a national newspaper published a story about a severance package paid to one of his former staffers in 2015.
According to the Washington Times, the woman threatened a lawsuit and claimed Grijalva was "frequently drunk and created a hostile workplace environment."
The newspaper wrote the deal may "run contrary to House rules that constrain severance packages," something Grijalva denied.
"The fact is that an employee and I, working with the House Employment Counsel, mutually agreed on terms for a severance package, including an agreement that neither of us would talk about it publicly," Grijalva said in a news release. "The terms were consistent with House Ethics Committee guidance. The severance funds came out of my committee operating budget. Every step of the process was handled ethically and appropriately."
The staffer, who worked for Grijalva for only three months, was paid $48,000.
Grijalva took several issues with the newspaper's report.
"Last week, the Washington Times contacted me seeking comment on what it described as a sexual harassment claim that, in fact, had never been made," Grijalva said. "Once the paper realized its original story was provably false, staff regrouped over the holidays and decided to run a misleading article trying to link me to sexual harassment complaints made against other people.
"The journalistic standards at the Washington Times are lax and the paper owes me an apology."