Mel Watt Accuser to Testify Before House Panel

Appearance comes same day as Kavanaugh-Ford hearing over in the Senate

House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, and ranking member Maxine Waters, D-Calif., left, might hear testimony from a woman who has accused former Rep. Mel Watt, who runs the Federal Housing Finance Agency, of sexual harassment. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Financial Services Committee will hear testimony Thursday from a Federal Housing Finance Agency employee who has accused former Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C, the agency’s director, of sexual harassment, the same day Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused the judge of sexual assault, are scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The Financial Services panel had already scheduled an FHFA oversight hearing for Thursday, where Watt is among the invited witnesses. Watt’s accuser, Simone Grimes, requested to testify at the hearing, according to a letter ranking member Maxine Waters, D-Calif., sent Monday to Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, asking he allow Grimes to do so.

Hensarling spokeswoman Sarah Flaim said the committee had been in contact with Grimes’s attorney before Waters’s letter and requested she meet with staff to present her claims and supporting evidence, “as is our regular practice for anyone making claims of this nature.”

Grimes met with majority and minority staff Tuesday afternoon and had been invited to testify on Thursday pending that meeting, Flaim said.

On Tuesday afternoon, Grimes’ attorney, said it was full speed ahead after what she said was “a very positive meeting” and Grimes was all set to testify. “We are extremely grateful for this opportunity and for the positive bipartisan response to our requests that Ms. Grimes testify,” Diane A. Seltzer Torre said in a statement.

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