Hillary Clinton decided not to fire a senior adviser on her 2008 presidential campaign who had been accused of sexual harassment, against the recommendation of her campaign manager, two sources who worked on the 2008 campaign tell CNN.
A female campaign staffer had accused Clinton’s faith adviser, Burns Strider, of harassment that included inappropriate touching, kissing her forehead and sending her suggestive emails, the sources said. The woman shared an office with Strider.
After hearing of the complaint, Clinton campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle and other senior aides urged Clinton to fire Strider, but Clinton declined to dismiss him and kept him on for the rest of her failed run for the Democratic nomination, the sources said.
“Patti wanted him out but she was overruled,” one source said.
The other source said Clinton made clear that “we should explore other options” than firing Strider. “I certainly thought he should just be fired,” the source added.
In a tweet late Friday, Clinton said she was aware of the accusations and had addressed them when they happened.
“A story appeared today about something that happened in 2008. I was dismayed when it occurred, but was heartened the young woman came forward, was heard, and had her concerns taken seriously and addressed,” she tweeted.
“I called her today to tell her how proud I am of her and to make sure she knows what all women should: we deserve to be heard.”
The New York Times first reported the story on Friday.
The woman was moved out of the office where she had been working with Strider, one source said, and the faith adviser was punished by having his pay docked for several weeks, having his title changed and being required to undergo sexual harassment training.
Strider and Doyle did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.
“To ensure a safe working environment, the campaign had a process to address complaints of misconduct or harassment,” Utrecht, Kleinfeld, Fiori, Partners, the law firm that represented Clinton’s 2008 campaign, said in a statement provided to CNN by a Clinton spokesman. “When matters arose, they were reviewed in accordance with these policies, and appropriate action was taken. This complaint was no exception.”
Strider spent much of his career inside the Clinton orbit. He developed a personal relationship with Clinton during the 2008 campaign by sending the then-senator Scripture readings every morning while she ran for president, and after the campaign he stayed close with the Clintons.
After the 2008 campaign, Strider was tasked to lead Correct the Record, an independent group that looked to rebut claims about Clinton as she prepared for her 2016 presidential run. The group was created by David Brock, a longtime Clinton ally.
Strider was later fired from the organization, however, after a series of issues, including allegations that he harassed multiple female staffers in person and over email, two sources with knowledge of his departure told CNN.
Brock did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.