Congress about to be rocked by a huge sexual harassment story?
Washington political circles have been buzzing for some time over the prospect that the Washington Post will publish a bombshell story about dozens of members of Congress who have engaged in sexual harassment and other, very bad, workplace behavior. We get an inkling of what might be to come from Ken Silverstein at Washington Babylon:
There are roughly another 30 members of congress implicated in sexual harassment scandals, and about twenty are likely to resign after January 1st.
The Washington Post has the names of the implicated members and is working on a story now. Other newspapers and media outlets are working on related stories, but apparently only the Post has the full list.
The newspaper likely obtained it from one or both House leaders, Republican Paul Ryan and Democrat Nancy Pelosi. These two widely loathed figures are apparently seeking to crash manage the looming PR catastrophe for congress, whose job approval rating is already in the low-teens.
I discussed this looming bombshell with Tom Anderson, a Friend of Washington Babylon and occasional contributor, on our site’s podcast. It was recorded last night and will post later today, and you’re definitely going to want to listen to all of it.
We don’t have the list of names or a partisan breakdown of the sleazy members who are about to be outed, but we’re talking about roughly 7.5 percent of congress.
What’s particularly disgusting about this is that members of congress have been using taxpayer money from the Congressional Office of Compliance to pay off their victims. Then they use campaign money or other political funds to pay for their legal defense. (The Office of Compliance, whose affairs are secret, has doled out nearly $20 million in settlement claims over the past two decades, with much of it being used to cover up sexual-harassment claims against unnamed members of Congress.)
Unless and until this story is published, we have no idea who might be named, shamed, and possibly even forced from office. But we will be watching this very closely...