WFB: As secretary of agriculture, Mike Espy fought to block the promotion of a department employee because his young daughter’s preexisting heart condition was believed to be a potential financial burden on the government, according to documents reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon.
Espy, now running for U.S. Senate in Mississippi, was confirmed to head the Department of Agriculture in January 1993 during the Clinton administration. It was after Espy took office that James Patterson, an agricultural economist for the department, says he learned that his promotion to the Foreign Agriculture Service, a department within USDA, was being stalled even though he had passed all the required tests with flying colors.
The reason for the USDA’s decision was Patterson’s daughter, who was born in 1989 and immediately went into surgery for congenital heart disease.
“My problems began at the Agriculture Department when Mike Espy came in January 1993,” Patterson, now retired from the department, explained in an interview. “I was in the Foreign Service there at the time, and he decided he would demote me based on my daughter’s disability.”
Patterson filed an Equal Employment Opportunity discrimination complaint regarding Espy’s actions at USDA, which he saw as a direct violation of both the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, a law Espy voted for as a member of the House of Representatives. read more