One Democratic senator, two House Democrats and one House Republican have been accused of sexual harassment or assault and are under pressure to resign.
Rep. John Conyers (D-MI)
Democratic Michigan Rep. John Conyers is accused of consistently sexually harassing his female staffers and demanding sexual favors from them. Conyers secretly settled with one accuser for more than $27,000 in taxpayer funding, in exchange for her silence. The 88-year-old Conyers has denied all wrongdoing. After a public backlash initially for defending Conyers as an “icon,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called on him to resign. As of yet, Conyers has given no indication that he plans to resign. (RELATED: The Other Conyers Bombshell That Was An Open Secret: A Top Congressman’s Deteriorating Mental Health)
Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D-NV)
Democratic Nevada Rep. Ruben Kihuen may not make it through his first term in Congress. Kihuen is accused of sexually harassing his campaign finance director, who quit during the primary after Kihuen allegedly demanded sex from her on multiple occasions and touched her thighs. Pelosi has said that Kihuen should resign, but it remains unclear if he will do so.
Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX)
Texas Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold used $84,000 of taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit with a female staffer in 2014 after she complained about a hostile work environment, sexual harassment and gender discrimination. Farenthold and his current chief of staff, Bob Haueter, reportedly directed a constant stream of lewd and explicit comments at former spokeswoman Lauren Greene. Farenthold fired Greene in retaliation after she complained about the alleged harassment, according to her lawsuit. Some Republicans, although not Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, have called on Farenthold to resign. When asked by Politico, Ryan’s office pointed to a ruling from the independent Office of Congressional Ethics, which had dismissed the claim, as a reason for Farenthold to stay.
Sen. Al Franken (D-MN)
Six different women have accused Democratic Minnesota Sen. Al Franken of sexual misconduct. Five of the women have said that Franken groped their butts or breasts without their consent. Two of the women have accused Franken of forcibly kissing them. Franken, a former actor, has publicly apologized for his alleged groping but has consistently claimed to have no memory of the gropes. Franken’s poll numbers have plummeted and three House Democrats have called on him to reisgn, but the Democratic senator has indicated that he plans to remain in office. (RELATED: Al Franken’s Newest Excuse For Groping Allegations: ‘I Hug People’)
The four congressmen appear to make up the tip of the iceberg when it comes to alleged sexual harassment in Congress.
The Congressional Office Of Compliance (OOC) secretly paid out harassment settlements using taxpayer dollars for decades. In the last decade, the office paid out $17 million in taxpayer funding to victims of harassment — including sexual harassment — in Congress.
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