In 2008, a senior adviser to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign was accused of repeatedly sexually harassing a young woman. Instead of letting him go, Hillary Clinton specifically requested that he be kept on the campaign. The New York Times reported the scandal according to four people familiar with what took place.
The NY Times says Clinton’s campaign manager at the time recommended that she fire the adviser, Burns Strider. Clinton declined to do so. Instead, Strider was docked several weeks of pay, and he was ordered to undergo counseling.
The young woman was moved to a new job.
Strider, a co-founder of the American Values Network, was Mrs. Clinton’s faith adviser. He sent the candidate scripture readings every morning during the campaign.
That wasn't the last time Clinton worked with Strider. He was hired five years later to lead an independent group that supported Mrs. Clinton’s 2016 candidacy. The group was Correct the Record, which was created by a close Clinton ally, David Brock.
He was fired from Correct the Record after several months due to allegations that he harassed a young female aide, according to three people close to Correct the Record’s management. Strider did not respond to an email seeking comment.
A spokesperson for Hillary Clinton provided a statement from the law firm that represented her campaign in 2008, Utrecht, Kleinfeld, Fiori, Partners.
“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,” the statement said. “This complaint was no exception.”
In the past, the woman’s experience and the reaction to it have not been previously reported. The Times says former Clinton associates were unwilling to discuss the events for publication.
However, in the wake of the #MeToo movement and the Weinstein scandal, that changed. The Times account was based on interviews with eight former campaign officials and associates of Clinton.
These officials shared that the campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle, and other senior campaign officials discussed the situation. They related that some of them were troubled that he was allowed to remain on the campaign.
Three former campaign officials outlined the harassment, which took place against a 30-year-old woman who shared an office with Strider.
"She told a campaign official that Mr. Strider had rubbed her shoulders inappropriately, kissed her on the forehead and sent her a string of suggestive emails, including at least one during the night," reported The Times.
Doyle, the campaign manager, received the complaint and approached Clinton. She urged that Mr. Strider, who was married at the time, be fired.
"Mrs. Clinton said she did not want to, and instead he remained on her staff," noted The Times.
The woman has not made any public accusations against Strider. She was likely required to sign a nondisclosure agreement as part of her role in the campaign. When reached by a reporter, she declined to comment. Doyle, the campaign manager, also declined to comment.
Clinton’s role in the #MeToo movement has been fraught. She hasn't spoken out publicly, and she delayed denouncing her longtime friend Harvey Weinstein when allegations came out against him.
After several days, Clinton spoke out against Weinstein, a noted donor to the Clintons. At the time, she said she was “shocked and appalled by the revelations.”
However, weeks later, actress Lena Dunham, one of Mrs. Clinton’s most visible celebrity supporters in her 2016 presidential bid, told the Times that she warned two Clinton campaign aides about Weinstein.
“I just want you to know that Harvey’s a rapist and this is going to come out at some point,” Ms. Dunham said she told the campaign.
Nick Merrill, the communications director for Mrs. Clinton, claimed that Dunham was mistaken.
“As to claims about a warning, that’s something staff wouldn’t forget,” he said.