A new report by the Washington Examiner published Monday alleged that a second former staffer to 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful and #MeToo movement advocate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) left the office due to a sexual harassment allegation but was kept on the payroll for three months after the incident occurred.
Two former Gillibrand aides told the Examiner that the senator’s former communications director, Marc Brumer, departed from the office in the spring of 2017 following at least one alleged sexist comment that offended a female scheduler. The scheduler reportedly left the office before Brumer.
However, Brumer allegedly stayed on the senator’s payroll “for about three months after the incident, even though he didn’t do any work,” according to a former aide.
The Examiner asked Brumer about the incident.
“As I said at the time, I am sorry that words used during a heated debate offended a colleague,” Brumer said. “By then, I had already been planning my departure and preparing to seek another opportunity. I resigned and ensured a smooth transition.”
He also reportedly told his friends that he did not intend for his remark to come off as sexist nor was he trying to offend the scheduler.
A spokesperson for Gillibrand told the Examiner that “the employee was reprimanded immediately” and that his resignation was accepted. The spokesperson went on to say that Brumer “was never in the office again and was told to work from home to transition his responsibilities after his deputy was elevated to his job and began three months of paid maternity leave.”
The Examiner report marks the second former Gillibrand staffer who has been accused of sexual harassment. A report from Politico earlier this month revealed that a female staffer resigned from the senator’s office in protest after another male aide — Abbas Malik — allegedly made unwanted advances toward her last July.
The aide had criticized Gillibrand in an email she wrote to the senator. Malik was reportedly removed from Gillibrand’s staff.
These reports could cause issues for Gillibrand, who has made fighting sexual harassment one of the issues on her 2020 presidential platform. She enters into a large Democratic primary against opponents such as fellow Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).