Report: Hillary Clinton shielded advisor accused of harassment during 2008 campaign
Burns Strider, a senior advisor to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign, standing, speaks at the Mississippi Economic Council’s annual Hobnob Mississippi in October 2016. Rogelio V. Solis/AP

Report: Hillary Clinton shielded advisor accused of harassment during 2008 campaign

As the #MeToo movement and wave of sexual misconduct allegations against powerful men continues, a new instance of sexual harassment during Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign has come to light.

The New York Times reported Friday that a sexual harassment complaint was made against Clinton advisor Burns Strider during Clinton’s 2008 presidential primary campaign. Strider, who served as Clinton’s faith adviser, was accused of repeatedly harassing a 30-year-old staffer through such actions as rubbing her shoulders inappropriately, kissing her on the forehead and sending suggestive emails.

Clinton, however, reportedly did not see Strider’s behavior as a cause for removal from the campaign. According to the Times, though Clinton campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle urged Clinton to fire Strider over the allegations, Clinton chose to keep him on the campaign. Strider was instead merely forced to undergo workplace counseling and had several weeks of pay docked, while the female staffer was moved to a new job.

In a statement provided to the Times, legal firm Utrecht, Kleinfeld, Fiori, Partners, who represented the 2008 campaign, said: “To ensure a safe working environment, the campaign had a process to address complaints of misconduct or harassment. When matters arose, they were reviewed in accordance with these policies, and appropriate action was taken. This complaint was no exception.”

Then-Sen. Hillary Clinton speaks at Greater Mount Carmel Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis during her presidential campaign in February 2008.
Then-Sen. Hillary Clinton speaks at Greater Mount Carmel Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis during her presidential campaign in February 2008. Robyn Beck/Getty Images

Following Clinton’s unsuccessful 2008 presidential bid, Strider was later appointed to lead Correct the Record, an independent group founded by Clinton ally David Brock that supported Clinton’s 2016 campaign. He was later fired from his role after several months over “workplace issues,” including harassing a young female aide, the Times reported.

The reveal of the allegations and Clinton’s role in keeping Strider on the campaign come three months after the recent outpouring of sexual misconduct allegations began with reports on film producer Harvey Weinstein, a prominent Clinton supporter. Clinton was chastised at the time for her associations with Weinstein, whose behavior, she said in a statement at the time, “cannot be tolerated.”

In December, Clinton communications director Nick Merrill denied a claim by actress Lena Dunham that she warned the campaign about Weinstein’s rumored behavior, saying in a statement: “As to claims about a warning, that’s something staff wouldn’t forget.”

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