- A former lobbyist told the Washington Post that GOP Rep. Tom Reed sexually harassed her.
- Nicolette Davis said a drunk Reed unhooked her bra and touched her thighs at a bar in 2017.
- Reed, reportedly considering a run for New York governor in 2022, denied her account.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
An Army lieutenant and former lobbyist said that New York Rep. Tom Reed, a Republican reportedly considering a run for governor in the state, sexually harassed her when she was a junior lobbyist in 2017.
Nicolette Davis told the Washington Post that an intoxicated Reed touched her inappropriately and even unhooked her bra at a bar in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
“A drunk congressman is rubbing my back,” she texted to a friend and colleague at insurance company Aflac. “HELP HELP.”
Davis told the Post that Reed, who was seated to her left at the table both put his hand under her shirt, unhooked her bra with one of his hands, and rubbed her inner thigh with the other.
Reed flatly denied the allegations in a statement to the Post, saying, “This account of my actions is not accurate.” He told reporters on Capitol Hill, “we issued a statement” when pressed on it further on Friday.
The Aflac coworker Davis texted, Jessica Strieter Elting, confirmed to the Post that Davis both texted her at the time and recounted more details when she returned, saying that Davis was “really shaken by it.”
Davis’ supervisor at the time, Aflac executive Brad Knox, also confirmed that Davis told him what happened when she got back from the trip, saying he offered her the option to file a complaint with the House Ethics Committee.
Davis is now a second lieutenant in the US Army who is set to graduate from field artillery school this month.
A number of Republican House Representatives from New York, including Reed, Rep. Elise Stefanik, and Rep. Lee Zeldin, are considering running for governor in 2022 as Gov. Andrew Cuomo faces scandals over his treatment of women staff and failures to report nursing home deaths, and post-2020 redistricting – which could cost New York up to two House seats – looming on the horizon.
Reed represents New York’s 23rd Congressional District, which encompasses a large swath of western New York stretching from Ithaca to the shores of Lake Erie, and has cultivated a profile as one of the more moderate GOP House members.
Reed also co-chairs the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus along with Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey. The group is comprised of over 50 moderate Democratic and Republican House members.
Reed has also been outspokenly critical of the Cuomo administration’s handling of COVID-19 cases in nursing homes in 2020 and has condemned Cuomo over the mounting allegations.
“Andrew Cuomo’s lies, harassment, and cover-ups must end. His ego and refusal to resign leave us with no choice but to remove him from office ourselves. Join me in calling for his impeachment and removal by signing your name right now,” Reed tweeted on Tuesday.
Cuomo has been publicly accused of sexual harassment by seven women, including three former aides who worked in the governor’s office in the past decade, a former staffer at the Department of Housing & Urban Development under the Clinton administration, when Cuomo led the department, a reporter who formerly covered Albany, and a woman who attended a wedding along with Cuomo in 2019.
Cuomo has refused calls for his resignation, and is remaining in office.
The allegations that Cuomo harassed female staff during his time as governor over the past decade are currently under investigation both in a probe overseen by the attorney general’s office and an impeachment investigation spearheaded by the judiciary committee in the state Assembly.
Attorney General Letitia James has selected two powerhouse attorneys, former federal prosecutor Joon Kim and civil rights lawyer Anne Clark, who specializes in employment discrimination, to conduct a fully independent investigation of the allegations with subpoena power.
Cuomo is accused by his own attorney general’s office of covering up the extent of nursing home deaths in New York from COVID-19 after his administration required nursing homes to take COVID-19 positive patients from hospitals.
A report from James accuses Cuomo of potentially undercounting nursing deaths by as much as 50% while shielding nursing homes from legal liability, a matter that is now under federal investigations.