Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? The old Roman question still hasn’t been satisfactorily answered. Who watches the watchers? Who inspects the ethics of the ethics boss?
The top staffer on an independent panel investigating the swarm of allegations against members of Congress has himself been accused of harassing and assaulting women at a Pennsylvania bar.
Omar Ashmawy is staff director of the Office of Congressional Ethics, a panel created after a wave of ethics scandals to provide independent voice in ethical conduct of lawmakers.
One of them, Greg Martucci, claims in a federal lawsuit that before the alleged assault, Ashmawy was ‘clearly sexually harassing’ the Inn’s bartender, Joey Lynn Smith.
‘You’ll give me drinks, but you won’t f*** me,’ Martucci claims Ashmawy complained to his server.
According to the suit, Martucci witnessed ‘an extremely violent and belligerent’ Ashmawy get verbally abusive toward Smith and Dawn Jorgenson, the wife of the owner.
Another woman who was there, Christina Floyd, also also complained Ashmawy was abusive in a statement given to police reviewed by the publication.
‘I am a 5 foot 3 woman who never knew this man. I was very scared of him and was afraid he’d come back around for weeks after,’ Floyd wrote police a month after the incident.
‘I have never had a man physically harm me or scare me in that matter. He was sexually harassing, abusing and I feared for my life.’
The suit also charged Ashmawy used his position as a Capitol investigator to try to prod the local police to act.
The suit accuses him of ‘threatening to use his position as staff director and chief counsel of the Office of Congressional Ethics to induce a criminal proceeding to be brought against Plaintiff and/or others.’
Omar claims to be the victim. And we can never know for sure what the truth is. But maybe someone accused of sexually harassing a woman shouldn’t be investigating members of Congress on that charge.