Bernie Sanders adviser accused of harassing female staffer in 2016

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"To the women in our campaign who were harassed or mistreated I apologize", Sanders said at a news conference Thursday.

The New York Times on January 2 published accounts from women who worked for the campaign complained of sexual harassment and pay disparities.

At the time the woman, who was in her 20s and wishes to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation from supporters of Sanders and Becker, chose not to report the incident because the campaign was over. The Vermont senator also said he wasn't aware of a reported $30,000 settlement Becker was named in to resolve a discrimination claim against his 2016 campaign. "Our standards, our procedures, our safeguards, were clearly inadequate". However, to the women who were allegedly harassed, he said that "what they experienced was absolutely unacceptable and certainly not what a progressive campaign, or any campaign, should be about". "To the women in that campaign who were harassed or mistreated I apologize".

She said she felt compelled to speak out after Mr Becker travelled to SC in December on a trip to recruit future campaign workers for Mr Sanders.

Bernie Sanders apologized Thursday for "unacceptable" sexual harassment that occurred on his 2016 presidential campaign, directly addressing an issue that could weigh on the senator's potential 2020 White House bid.

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The adviser, Robert Becker, has denied any wrongdoing.

According to POLITICO, Mr. Becker "oversaw Sanders' Iowa campaign, then helped lead his efforts in Michigan, California and NY as deputy national field director" and has reportedly started calling former staffers to prep for Sanders' potential 2020 run over the past few months.

NBC's Chuck Todd excoriated one of the most popular frontrunners for the Democratic nomination to run against President Donald Trump in 2020, and said it was the worst start to a possible campaign.

Over two dozen Sanders alumni signed the letter, in which they noted a culture of what they called toxic masculinity was common throughout the campaign world, Politico reported.

"It just really sucks, because no one ever held him accountable".

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"I categorically deny these allegations of improper and unprofessional conduct", Becker said in a statement.

"This can't happen in 2020", the woman said in Politico.

The reports of harassment are raising questions about whether Sanders can launch a second presidential campaign. "You can't run for president of the United States unless you acknowledge that every campaign demands a safe work environment for every employee and volunteer", the woman continued. All staff were required to take sexual harassment training and campaign workers were allowed to voice concerns to an independent human resources firm.

The Vermont senator's campaign committee, Friends of Bernie Sanders, said Becker "would not be a part of any future campaigns".

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