Potential Cuomo challenger Tom Reed accused of sexual misconduct

Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., co-chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus, arrives at the House Triangle outside the Capitol for a press conference, Sept. 15, 2020.

Bill Clark | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

New York Republican Rep. Tom Reed was accused by a former lobbyist of drunkenly rubbing her back, unhooking her bra and moving his hand up her thigh in an Irish bar after a day of ice fishing in Minnesota in 2017, a new report revealed Friday.

The accusation against Reed by now-U.S. Army Lt. Nicolette Davis as detailed by The Washington Post comes as Reed — co-chair of the so-called bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus in Congress — is considering running for governor of New York next year.

Current Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been accused by more than a half-dozen women, including a current staffer, of sexually harassing them or otherwise touching or speaking to them inappropriately.

And Reed — who denied Davis’ account as “not accurate” — has been among those harshly criticizing Cuomo, calling for the Democratic governor to resign or be impeached.

The congressman, who represents New York’s 23rd District, for years has been an advocate for women who have alleged sexual assault and misconduct.

“These incidents of sexual harassment and pattern of abuse are abhorrent and have absolutely no place in our society, let alone the highest rungs of government. Such behavior is disturbing and unacceptable,” Reed said last month about Cuomo.

Cuomo has denied acting inappropriately toward women, and has refused to resign despite calls by leading Democrats that he do so.

Davis told The Post that she was 25 in 2017 when she felt the then-45-year-old Reed’s hand on her back when she was sitting next to him in a Minneapolis pub, after an ice-fishing event and related activities that were benefiting the campaign committee of then-Rep. Erik Paulsen, a Minnesota Republican.

At the time, Davis was a lobbyist for the insurance company Aflac. She told The Post that Reed appeared drunk during the fishing event and slipped and fell on the ice.

Later, while sitting next to him at dinner, she told The Post, Reed’s hands started wandering.

“A drunk congressman is rubbing my back,” Davis said she texted a co-worker that night. “HELP HELP.”

The Post reported that Davis said she was frozen in fear, but asked a person sitting on her right to help. That man pulled Reed away from the table and took him outside the pub, she told the paper.

“Davis’ account of Reed’s actions in 2017 was supported by a person who was at the table that night,” The Post reported.

“The person told The Post Reed was visibly intoxicated and put his hand on Davis’s back before being escorted from the restaurant while the rest of the group remained. That person spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing potential career ramifications.”

The newspaper also quoted the woman whom Davis has texted from the bar, Jessica Strieter Elting, who said Davis described Reed touching her and unhooking her bra. Strieter Elting manages the political affairs team for Aflac in Washington.

Brad Knox, a senior vice president at Aflac who at the time was counsel to the company, told The Post that he remembers Davis telling him that Reed had been drinking and undoing an article of her clothing.

“I felt like crying because nobody should be subjected to that, especially a new young lobbyist,” Knox told the paper.

Reed’s office issued a statement to CNBC: “This account of my actions is not accurate,” Reed said about Davis’ claims. Reed also said, “I stand by my record” of voting on women’s issues.



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