A “government of anonymous gropers” – that’s what Laura Ingraham of Fox News suggested Congress has become in a recent report about cover-up legislation quietly passed and signed into law by then President Bill Clinton. (Go figure.)
The Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 is about sheltering members of Congress and other government agencies from the public scrutiny that follows a claim of sexual harassment or discrimination.
On top of that, you and I pay to make everything go away. That’s right, instead of an accused person settling out his own claim like we do in the normal world, a member of Congress can just dip into the taxpayer-funded hush fund and pay a victim and her claims to fade into a distant memory. In the last few years, more than $15 million has been paid out to alleged victims of sexual misconduct.
In a November 14 House Administration Committee hearing chaired by Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS), Reps. Jackie Speier (D-CA) and Barbara Comstock (R-VA), acted as advocates for victims of numerous incidences of sexual misconduct. Two members of Congress currently in office allegedly perpetrated offenses. While details related to the purported occurrences were provided, the names of the offenders were not released to the public.
American Family Association is now calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to stop protecting sexual offenders in Congress – to name the offenders. Since we are footing the bill to settle out the claims of public servants, whose salaries we pay, shouldn’t we know what the claims are? Furthermore, since we are in charge of hiring and firing our public servants, shouldn’t we be made aware of behaviors inappropriate for the office we’ve hired them to fulfill?
Remember McConnell, who voted to create the hush fund, was the first to make a public statement after sexual misconduct accusations surfaced concerning Alabama senatorial candidate Roy Moore. He immediately claimed that Moore should step down based on the accusations alone. Though unsubstantiated and alleged to have occurred nearly four decades ago, there was no mention of investigation – only condemnation.
Since then, evidence-supported claims of sexual misconduct by Sen. Al Franken have been received by McConnell with considerably more reserve. He has promised to investigate the sexual harassment allegations, but his statements have been void of any public demand for resignation.
Though the allegations against Moore are more severe, they are just that – allegations. The only glimpse of evidence fizzled in the obvious yearbook forgery presented by Gloria Allred’s client, Beverly Young Nelson. Of course, Allred declined a public invitation by Moore’s attorney to have the signature examined by independent experts.
This shouldn’t surprise any of us. Let’s not forget that a much younger Allred represented the late Norma McCorvey, the Jane Roe of the 1973 Roe v. Wade case. McCorvey later admitted the story used to make the successful case for legalized abortion was completely made up. Her claim of being raped was fabricated. While McCorvey later repented of her dishonesty and overall involvement with the infamous case, Allred did not. Is there any reason to think her moral composition has experienced an overhaul?
While every accusation of sexual misconduct should be taken seriously and investigated thoroughly, it’s irresponsible and un-American to assume a person’s guilt. And it’s not the media’s job to act as judge and jury.
No one wants to be tried by the media, especially when it involves the ratings hot topic of sexual accusation. Whether guilty or not, the damages can be shattering. And definitely from the perspective of the guilty, it’s best to keep it under wraps. Thus, Congress has become a government of gropers, a sanctuary city for sexual offenders.
And I can’t help but question whether guaranteed settlement money presents tempting opportunities for false accusations. But I guess the risk of increased claims is worth it for members of Congress in light of the alternative – torturous and tyrannical media trials. Secrecy and self-preservation is everything in the swamp.
It’s quite the marshy mess on Capitol Hill. But since “we the people” are the boss, and we pay the bills, let’s demand some transparency … and consistency. If McConnell is so quick to throw Moore before the media magistrates, let’s see that those already seated are granted the same sweet scrutiny.
Click here to sign a petition telling Sen. McConnell and Speaker Ryan to release the names of congressional sex offenders.