Widespread sexual harassment in the halls of Congress is an open secret, and female lawmakers, staff, and interns keep a “creep list” of male members to avoid, according to a new report from CNN.
More than 50 sources spoke to CNN, including “lawmakers, current and former Hill aides and political veterans who have worked in Congress.” They spoke anonymously, fearful of repercussions, and almost everyone said they have personally experienced sexual harassment or known someone else who has.
One ex-House aide said that with “so many young women” working on the Hill, male lawmakers “have no self-control.” There are rules for new hires to teach them which lawmakers to avoid, like “be extra careful of the male lawmakers who sleep in their offices,” and “avoid finding yourself alone with a congressman or senator in elevators.”
Some of the individuals who spoke to CNN even named sitting lawmakers who engage in inappropriate behavior.
The dozens of interviews that CNN conducted with both men and women also revealed that there is an unwritten list of male lawmakers — made up primarily of House representatives where there are many more members than the Senate — notorious for inappropriate or predatory behavior. Several people simply referred to that roster as the “creep list.”
More than half a dozen interviewees independently named one California congressman for pursuing female staffers; another half dozen pointed to a Texas congressman for engaging in inappropriate behavior. CNN is not naming either of those lawmakers because the stories are unverified.
One woman recounted an encounter with a sitting senator in an elevator. Her boss, another senator, introduced her to his colleague. When she shook the senator’s hand, she says he stroked the inside of her palm “in a really gross, suggestive way.”
The woman declined to be named or to reveal the senator’s identity.
That victims of sexual harassment on Capitol Hill should feel afraid to identify their harassers is completely unacceptable. These women say they fear repercussions at work. One woman who spoke to CNN said she questions whether her career was damaged after she filed a complaint against her boss, another staffer.
Two things need to happen immediately. First, Congress needs to pass a serious measure to ensure that everyone on Capitol Hill can file complaints against workplace harassment without endangering their careers.
Second, these women need to name their harassers. Now. The people of the United States are the H.R. department of Congress. The lawmakers on this “creep list” need to be made public, and voters must expel them from Congress.
If Roy Moore is unfit for public office based on believable allegations of serious sexual misconduct, then so too is the sitting senator and the members of Congress alluded to in CNN’s report.
Kick the pigs out.
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Chris Pandolfo is a staff writer and type-shouter for Conservative Review. He holds a B.A. in politics and economics from Hillsdale College. His interests are conservative political philosophy, the American founding, and progressive rock. Follow him on Twitter for doom-saying and great album recommendations @ChrisCPandolfo.
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