US Senator Marco Rubio fires top aide over 'improper relations' with staff

US Senator Marco Rubio (pictured) fired his chief of staff over allegations that the latter had improper relations with subordinates. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A prominent US senator on Saturday (Jan 27) fired his chief of staff for improper relations with subordinates, as US lawmakers increasingly grapple with the issue of sexual harassment.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio said he received by Saturday "sufficient evidence to conclude that while employed by this office, my chief of staff had violated office policies regarding proper relations between a supervisor and their subordinates."

This led Rubio to return Saturday to Washington from his home state of Florida to fire his top aide, he said in a statement.

Rubio's office confirmed the identity of the dismissed staffer as Clint Reed, but there were no details on the nature of the improper relations.

"We have taken steps to ensure that those impacted by this conduct have access to any services they may require now or in the future," Rubio said.

Some Congress members have been forced to resign since late last year over sexual harassment allegations. These include Democratic Senator Al Franken and longtime Democratic Congressman John Conyers.

In December last year (2017), nearly 60 female Democratic lawmakers demanded that Congress investigate allegations of sexual misconduct against Republican President Donald Trump.

More than a dozen women have accused him of harassment, but the White House has maintained that the women are lying.

The downfall of US movie mogul Harvey Weinstein last year over alleged sexual misconduct touched off a deluge of accusations that brought down a slew of other powerful men in entertainment, politics and the media.

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