Inspector General finds Watt misused office in misconduct case

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Inspector General finds Watt misused office in misconduct case

Alex Wong/Getty Images Mel Watt misused his position as the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency in attempting “to coerce or induce” a subordinate “to engage in a personal relationship with him” by dangling the possibility of a promotion, according to an inspector general’s report made public today.

“We find that there are no circumstances under which it would be appropriate for the head of FHFA to induce a subordinate employee to meet with him alone, in his apartment, for a conversation in which he professes his attraction for that employee and holds out opportunities for the employee to serve in specific executive positions over which he exercises total control,” the FHFA Office of Inspector General said in the report.

It’s the latest development in a saga that involved three investigations, a federal pay discrimination lawsuit and a congressional hearing.

FHFA employee Simone Grimes accused Watt, whose five-year term ended in January, of sexual harassment last year. Watt refused to participate in an internal probe, arguing that as the presidentially appointed director, he was not an “employee” subject to the agency’s anti-harassment rules for employees.

Grimes started recording conversations with Watt, she told lawmakers in September, out of concern over the frequency […]

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