In almost all Capitol Hill offices, the chief of staff is the highest paid staffer. Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) has two chiefs of staff, but neither one is his highest paid. Instead, it's his girlfriend, who for a decade has made at or near the maximum allowable salary in his Broward County office as a district deputy director, a title that often is paid a fraction of that amount.
The girlfriend, Patricia Williams, who the office says has recently been promoted to a district director, is the only member of Hastings' staff to receive the maximum salary of $168,411. His district chief of staff, Art Kennedy, made $167,910, while D.C. chief of staff Lale Morrison made $150,800 for her work both in the congressman's personal office and on the House Rules Committee.
House Ethics rules, based on federal law, "generally" prohibit members from hiring and promoting legal relatives but do not extend the prohibition to non-married partners. Williams would be able to continue her employment with Hastings' office if the two were to marry. Ethics rules "prohibit a Member from retaining a spouse in a paid position" except "in the case of a spouse whose pertinent employment predates the [107th] Congress," which ran from 2001 to 2003.
Williams has worked for the congressman since 1993.