The wave of accusations of sexual misconduct has been incessant in Hollywood, news outlets, and Washington DC. Those who have credible accusations made against them in Hollywood and the news media have thus far faced immediate consequences to their careers. In DC, that hasn’t happened as much, In fact, most who have faced strong accusations have been allowed to stay in until the end of their terms. That’s simply not right.
They should go immediately. Kevin Spacey wasn’t told he could finish the final season of House of Cards before leaving. Matt Lauer didn’t do another month’s worth of shows before being fired. Yet, politicians have mostly been given a pass as long as they say they’re not seeking reelection. There have been some obvious exceptions, but a good portion of them have simply said they won’t run again when their term is done. The most recent (as of now, though that could change any moment) is Ruben Kihuen, who I called out over a week ago and again this week.
Kihuen, 37, a freshman Democrat elected last year, is the latest of a wave of elected officials who have resigned or announced retirement after women accused them of sexual harassment or sexually inappropriate behavior.
On Friday, the House Ethics Committee announced it would investigate sexual harassment claims leveled against Kihuen.
In a statement, the committee said it “has begun an investigation and will gather additional information regarding the allegations.”
The same thing is happening with Blake Farenthold. He, too, will be facing the House Ethics Committee. This really shouldn’t be happening. Why waste taxpayer dollars to keep them in place? Why is Al Franken waiting until January to leave? The list of “leaving later” legislators is growing, and nobody seems to have a problem with it.
If a company finds out one of their managers has been very likely sexually harassing employees based upon more than one account, that manager would be fired on the spot. That’s not the case with politicians and we should demand that it is.
Let’s be clear about something. I’m not suggesting that all it takes is an accusation to push people out the door. These accusations should be credible. They should be believed but verified. We can’t let this turn into the Salem witch trials, but we do have to assume a few things. With Farenthold, the evidence is the payout taxpayers made on his behalf to those he allegedly sexually harassed. With Kihuen, it was multiple similar accusations that did him in. Don’t even get me started on the plethora of evidence against Franken.
This is the purge that Washington DC needs right now. If there are more sexual predators on Capitol Hill (and we have to assume there are) then their victims need to come forward if they’re comfortable doing so and the offenders need to be removed. No waiting until the end of their term. No waiting for them to finish up business. They need to go, now.