How foxes guard

by on October 28, 2017 at 11:32 am in Current Affairs, Law, Political Science | Permalink

If Whitehouse had chosen to pursue a complaint against the senator, she would have discovered a process unlike other parts of the federal government or much of the private sector. Her complaint likely would have been thrown out because interns have limited harassment protections under the unique employment law that Congress applies to itself.

Congress makes its own rules about the handling of sexual complaints against members and staff, passing laws exempting it from practices that apply to other employers.

The result is a culture in which some lawmakers suspect harassment is rampant. Yet victims are unlikely to come forward, according to attorneys who represent them.

Under a law in place since 1995, accusers may file lawsuits only if they first agree to go through months of counseling and mediation. A special congressional office is charged with trying to resolve the cases out of court.

When settlements do occur, members do not pay them from their own office funds, a requirement in other federal agencies. Instead, the confidential payments come out of a special U.S. Treasury fund.

That is from Michelle Ye Hee Lee and Elise Viebeck at The Washington Post.

1 derek October 28, 2017 at 11:40 am

Do these rules have names attached?

The Teddy Kennedy Protection Act?

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2 JOHN BYRNE October 28, 2017 at 11:44 am

FOLEY, GINGRICH, HASTERT, LIVINGSTON, SANFORD… AND DON’T FOREGT THE SEXUAL PREDATOR IN CHIEF.

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3 Art Deco October 28, 2017 at 11:51 am

DON’T FOREGT THE SEXUAL PREDATOR IN CHIEF

Because random women claiming you put your hand on their thigh 15 years ago are of unquestioned credibility. As for the rest of the names on your list, three are known adulterers, no velcro mittens in the office. One talked dirty to congressional pages, but did nothing more than that.

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4 clockwork_prior October 28, 2017 at 12:02 pm

Random women? Come on, we have Trump on tape bragging about what he does – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3dLIRHZO3Y

So either the President was lying about grabbing women, or he wasn’t. But he has bragred about doing what a number of women have accused him of doing. Though it is not apparently known whether any of those accusers ever went furniture shopping with Trump. Or shared any tic tacs before Trump was overcome with the need to kiss. You know, as he says on tape (no ‘tape’ – unlike Trump cliaming to have ‘tapes’ or proof, this is actual footage) ‘Just kiss. I don’t even wait.’

Don’t get me wrong – anyone wanting to call Trump nothing but a sad lying windbag in his defense is welcome to do so, of course.

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5 Art Deco October 28, 2017 at 12:59 pm

No, we have Trump on tape telling Billy Bush what women will let you get away with in certain circumstances. They let you get away with it because they like your attention.

6 Art Deco October 28, 2017 at 1:06 pm

I wish Trump would grab my
wife by the pussy.

7 clockwork_prior October 28, 2017 at 2:47 pm

Have you even watched that tape? Notice I did not quote the part about grabbing, I quoted the part about how Trump needed Tic-Tacs, because he cannot resist kissing women – ‘Trump: “Yeah that’s her with the gold. I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful… I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything.”‘ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-us-2016-37595321

You are still welcome to use the lying windbag defense, of course.

8 Moo cow October 28, 2017 at 12:23 pm

Wow. Your sycophancy knows no bounds. Lol.

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9 Art Deco October 28, 2017 at 1:05 pm

“Sycophancy” is the new four syllable word for ‘reads Democratic Party press with a measure of skepticism and precision’.

He called Mark Sanford, Newt Gingrich, and Robert Livingston ‘sexual predators’. All three men had affairs. Gingrich is the only one among them where more than one paramour is known (in his case two, one of whom was a woman who had a history of hitting on married men). That’s not what ‘sexual predator’ means. If Foley’s a ‘predator’, he’s peculiarly bad at it. All he got for his trouble was an 18 year old youth admitting to masturbating into a towel.

10 clockwork_prior October 28, 2017 at 2:50 pm

Actually, it appears as if “Sycophancy” is the new four syllable word for not watching a youtube video where one can hear Trump talking about his behavior. Such as his apparent lack of needing any restraint to stop kissing any woman he finds beautiful. Who needs the press when you can actually hear Trump explain his behavior towards women he finds beautiful.

11 mulp October 28, 2017 at 1:15 pm

This law does not protect anyone in the executive branch, only in the legislative branch.

This law was passed while the GOP majority was trying to find a reason to impeach Clinton or defeat him for reelection, with sexual conduct being a top weapon.

Ie, this was already understood to be a potent weapon politically.

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12 Moo cow October 29, 2017 at 12:06 am

Not exactly a hand on the thigh…

Time passed. The powerful man called Zervos to say he was coming to the West Coast. They made plans to meet at the Beverly Hills Hotel and go out to dinner. When Zervos arrived, she was brought to the man’s bungalow. She says he immediately began kissing her, open-mouthed. She pulled away. He asked her to come sit next to him. She did so. He began kissing her again, and grabbed her breast. She moved across the room. He followed her, embraced her, and rubbed his crotch against her.

The details of Zervos’s legal complaint are familiar to anyone who has followed the Harvey Weinstein scandal. All the elements are there: the power imbalance. The putatively professional meetings that are actually settings for sexual assault. The older man trading on the connections he can offer, the plum jobs he controls, to pressure a younger woman into sex.

But Summer Zervos’s story isn’t about Harvey Weinstein. It’s about Donald J. Trump.

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13 msgkings October 29, 2017 at 3:52 am

No, silly, accusers are only genuine when they are accusing Bill Clinton. And Weinstein too I guess.

14 JWatts October 30, 2017 at 2:54 pm

As you point out, we have a precedent for this … Bill Clinton.

However, I suspect the people who want to punish Trump for his egregious behavior were willing to turn a blind eye to Clinton’s antics. And Trump’s defenders can rightly point out that there is a historical precedent to ignore any kind of sexual behavior that falls short of provable rape.

15 JOHN BYRNE October 28, 2017 at 11:41 am

is there any reason to believe that male members of the US Congress and the male heads of theirs many committees and staffs are any less likely to abuse their positions of power than any other men in positions of power? I think not. And as members of ‘the club’ they engage in a conspiracy of silence about the practices of their colleagues.

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16 Anonymous October 28, 2017 at 12:35 pm

Figure “a few per hundred” as the ratio for men with this sort of deviance, and it will hit Congress or any other large group fairly often.

As an aside, this was the stuff the word “deplorable” was made for.

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17 derek October 28, 2017 at 12:45 pm

Great. I will buy you a drink when I hear Clinton call Teddy Kennedy a deplorable.

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18 Moo cow October 29, 2017 at 12:30 am

His conduct in that incident was deplorable I don’t think anyone would deny that. It kept him from becoming president.

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19 Philo October 28, 2017 at 12:00 pm

We need more stories like this; the American voters are not yet as disgusted with their politicians as they should be.

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20 The Other Jim October 28, 2017 at 4:14 pm

Very true.

Places like WaPo and NYT do all they can to make sure you are only disgusted by half of them. Ty is of course happy to play along if it gets him a Bloomberg paycheck.

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21 Art Deco October 28, 2017 at 6:30 pm

I’m a Juanty Cuck.

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22 Donald Pretari October 28, 2017 at 12:04 pm

“It’s a shame, but I have to write laws to protect myself because I’m always innocent.” Yeh. That works for me.

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23 FE October 28, 2017 at 12:32 pm

The premise of this article (or at least the headline, “How Congress plays by different rules”) is false. The process here is patterned after the EEOC process for federal employees in the executive branch (i.e., most federal employees). They have to initiate the process by submitting a claim to an EEOC counselor, then elect counseling or mediation. The next step is filing a formal complaint at the agency, which gets 180 days to investigate. At the end of the investigation, the employee can ask for a decision from the agency, or go seek a hearing before an EEOC administrative judge. Only after going through all of those procedures (and I am omitting some of the procedural nuances), does a federal employee get the right to proceed in federal court. https://www.eeoc.gov/federal/fed_employees/complaint_overview.cfm The Congressional process is slightly more onerous in that both the counseling and mediation are mandatory, but otherwise this is the norm of how harassment is handled in the federal government. Maybe that’s the real scandal? But it’s not really news.

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24 chuck martel October 28, 2017 at 2:08 pm

It takes 180 days to investigate a particular incident? That’s a little longer than it might take to review a touchdown in an NFL game. How come?

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25 Boonton October 30, 2017 at 3:30 pm

I imagine that is ‘up too 180 days to investigate’ but then again how long do actual lawsuits take? I don’t believe it is unusual for the process to take several years. If that’s the case the initial 180 days is annoying but hardly a total deterrent to a serious harassment lawsuit.

But then lower level harassment that doesn’t merit million dollar payouts would be a problem. I would imagine quite a few workers would question whether they wanted to possible sacrifice a career while trying to confidentially pursue justice.

Then again public shaming seems to be much more effective for non-Presidents when it comes to harassment.

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26 rayward October 28, 2017 at 12:43 pm

What do most of the sexual predators have in common? They are big fat slobs: Trump, Weinstein, Gingrich, Wieseltier, the list is long. Since no woman (other than a fat slob) would likely be attracted to them, they use their positions of power to impose their id on young, slim, pretty women (or boys in the case of Hastert). The moral: don’t put big fat slobs in positions of power.

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27 derek October 28, 2017 at 12:47 pm

Anthony Weiner.

Do more homework.

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28 rayward October 28, 2017 at 2:04 pm

My understanding is that Wiener merely texted photos of his wiener, he didn’t actually show the real wiener. The irony is that Wiener, a Jew, will forever be known as the one who shared photos of his wiener, the wiener being slang for a sausage hot dog. Since they were only photos, there was no risk that anyone would violate Jewish Law.

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29 Tanturn October 28, 2017 at 2:32 pm

Those goalposts are made for moving, and moving’s what you’ll do….

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30 Careless October 28, 2017 at 7:35 pm

and as far as you know, the first person you listed didn’t do either, you jackass.

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31 Boonton October 30, 2017 at 3:31 pm

Aside from the underage aspect of a single case, I don’t believe I heard of any charge that Weiner was a predator. He liked to sext chat with consentingwomen other than his wife. I don’t recall any women he worked with coming forward saying he made continual unwanted advances towards them.

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32 PaulD October 28, 2017 at 4:34 pm

If you are going to list Hastert, you have list Gerry Studds.

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33 Dick the Butcher October 28, 2017 at 5:32 pm

Congress exempts itself from many laws.

A famous feminist once said women should strap on their knee pads and thank Clinton (Bill not Hillary, although. . .) kept abortion legal.

The most successful (eight years in the White House) sexual predator in America isn’t very fat, isn’t overly unattractive, isn’t really a slob – well maybe; and is married to the smartest woman on the Planet. You know her. She’s the woman who’s “war room” character assassinated (nuts and sluts) his rape victims, stood by her man; and missed her reward by losing the 2016 presidential election to Donald J. Trump.

Go figure.

Moral: Weinstein should have donated more money to Planned Parenthood.

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34 Eric H October 29, 2017 at 9:37 am

If you believe Bill Maher, this is actually the fault of their wives. Don’t put men in power whose wives are boring. On the other hand, you could doubt the existence of Bill Maher’s moral compass. YMMV

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35 Excursive October 28, 2017 at 12:48 pm

Interesting that no one has mentioned Presidents Clinton or Kennedy.

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36 Jay October 28, 2017 at 1:18 pm

“Every* survivor of sexual assault deserves to be heard, believed, and supported”

*Bonus points for naming the list of people who are an exception to Clinton’s quote. I’ll get you started, Monica Lewinsky is one of the exceptions.

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37 Ricardo October 28, 2017 at 11:48 pm

As far as I can tell, Lewinsky has always maintained her relationship with Clinton was consensual. Inappropriate and adulterous? Yes. De facto sexual harassment because of the power differential? Probably. But not assault unless you want to call Lewinsky a liar.

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38 mulp October 28, 2017 at 1:19 pm

They are not in the legislative branch so this law does not apply.

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39 zbicyclist October 28, 2017 at 3:54 pm

Teddy Kennedy was mentioned in the first comment; that should count for something.

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40 Boonton October 30, 2017 at 3:33 pm

There is a difference between sex and sexual harassment.

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41 SA October 28, 2017 at 1:47 pm

It’s good to be the king.

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42 athEIst October 28, 2017 at 3:31 pm

This must be wrong! Making Congress obey the same laws as citizens was part of The Contract with America. I distinctly recall Newt Gringrich say all provisions of TCwA except the balanced budget were passed.

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43 Reactionary October 28, 2017 at 4:21 pm

Yes the stories we are hearing about sexual harrassment and exploitation are horrifying.

But if we frame them in terms of “sexual harrassment” we are missing the point. There are Harvey Weinsteins who are suave enough to make a move only when they know they will get the answer that they want. There are also instances where women are actually instigating their own exploitation for career benefit. Are those kinds of thing acceptable simply because they are not legally proscribed as sexual harassment. Obviously not.

The real problem is the culture of promiscuity,

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44 Art Deco October 28, 2017 at 9:19 pm

Yes the stories we are hearing about sexual harrassment and exploitation are horrifying.

They are? S.E. Cupp hosted a couple of days ago a confab with a collection of women in broadcasting where they were invited to retail their stories. Two of them (neither of whom I’d ever heard of) get done and the viewer is left humming Peggy Lee’s last hit. I’m sorry in a pro forma way, Miss Camarota, that some guy called you an ‘Italian sex kitten’ in the office 30 years ago and that your boss told you to ‘choose your battles carefully’ (something any prudent person does at work and at home). Even in our affluent and comfortable era, that doesn’t amount to much when placed next to the work-related problems ordinary people have. Again,the story the other dame told (which took place in 1981) was equally meh.

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45 fedup October 28, 2017 at 8:05 pm

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/11/the-understudied-female-sexual-predator/503492/

“Two years ago, Lara Stemple, Director of UCLA’s Health and Human Rights Law Project, came upon a statistic that surprised her: In incidents of sexual violence reported to the National Crime Victimization Survey, 38 percent of victims were men––a figure much higher than in prior surveys. … 79.2% of victimized men reported female perpetrators.”

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