Friday, February 9, 2018

Ed Crane accused of sexual harassment

Former Cato employees describe years of harassment - POLITICO:

"Three former employees of the famed Cato Institute say they were sexually harassed by Ed Crane, the 73-year-old co-founder and president emeritus of the think tank and one of the most recognizable figures in the libertarian movement.

"One former employee said Crane asked her to take off her bra. Another said he compared her breasts to pornographic images on his computer. A third said he sent her an email on breast augmentation. Crane also settled an additional sexual harassment claim by a former employee in 2012, her lawyer confirmed....

"Crane, who served as president and CEO of the libertarian think tank for more than 30 years before becoming president emeritus after a dispute with Cato shareholders Charles and David Koch, denied several of the incidents or said he didn’t recall them before ending a brief interview. He declined to comment on whether he was involved in a legal settlement in 2012.

"Peter Goettler, who has served as Cato’s president and CEO since 2015, also declined to comment on specific incidents of alleged sexual harassment during Crane’s tenure.... James Davis, a spokesperson for the Koch brothers, said they found out about the 2012 sexual harassment settlement in the midst of their dispute with Crane, at a time when they were already seeking to remove him as president.

"A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, who spent part of his early career as an investment manager, Crane became a national leader in the libertarian movement.... In 1977, the then-32-year-old Crane co-founded Cato with economist Murray Rothbard and Charles Koch, the billionaire industrialist and political donor. Crane ran the institute on a daily basis, establishing Cato as a top Washington think tank and growing its annual budget to more than $20 million at the time of his retirement. Cato helped to inject libertarian policies — such as privatizing Social Security — into the political mainstream....

"Goettler, Cato’s current president, ... said there was a settlement at the organization in 2012 and another settlement at Cato during that period of time, but declined to provide details on who paid the settlements or whether they involved Crane....

"Goettler ... said the think tank has 'a pretty explicit policy against sexual harassment,' as well as a 'robust complaint process' for employees and an anti-retaliation policy. He said the procedures predate his own time as president, which began in 2015.... Cato also conducted a mandatory sexual harassment training for employees several years ago, Goettler said."

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