Do you know what would happen to your boss if he emptied out your retirement account to spend it on day-to-day operations – and left you with nothing but IOUs?
Do you know what would happen to your boss if the company was losing money for decades – and yet he continued spending more than the company was taking in?
Firing. Or bankruptcy.
Do you know what would happen to your boss if he was sexually harassing the help?
Firing. And lawsuits.
This is your United States Congress.
It has long been a loathed body – Mark Twain once wrote that “It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.” But on the above counts and more, Congress has never been more worthy of our loathing.
In fact, while there have been hundreds of marches on Washington involving millions of people over the years, perhaps no other issue or insult more warrants a torch-carrying mob than Congress’ sexual harassment slush fund. It has been using taxpayer funds to make sexual harassment claims against them go away quietly with secret settlements.
While the Capitol lights have recently been turned on to some members’ escapades, the cockroaches are only scurrying. They’re not gracing the esteemed halls with an unceremonious exit.
Like the college fraternity member in the movie Animal House who disingenuously claimed with a smirk after the toga party that it was “Unbelievable. A new low. I’m so ashamed,” Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., says “I’m embarrassed and ashamed” at having groped unwilling, astonished women through the years.
Yet Franken dauntlessly tries to turn his sexual assaults into a virtue, saying “I’m a warm person. I hug people.” What a crock. When was the last time one of your hugs ended with a grope of someone’s behind?
Then there’s Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich. – so much a fixture at the Capitol since 1964 that he ought to have an inscription chiseled on his chest. His taxpayer-funded office once paid off an alleged sexual harassment victim to the tune of $27,000, and others allege he essentially had a harem.
Signed statements by former staff, according to one report, allege Conyers “repeatedly made sexual advances to female staff that included requests for sex acts, contacting and transporting other women with whom they believed Conyers was having affairs, caressing their hands sexually, and rubbing their legs and backs in public.” One staffer said he once showed up for a meeting in his underwear.
As outrageous as all that is – and there’s no doubt that Conyers should resign his congressional seat, and not just his position on the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee – the most galling, infuriating revelation in this whole sordid series of exposés is the existence of Congress’ “shush” fund to use your money to pay off members’ sexual harassment claimants.
This body has crossed a line not even the cynical Twain could’ve imagined.
Every payment, and every congressman’s name associated with them must be disclosed to the taxpaying public. Now. Anyone who facilitated this slush fund should be out the door with the harassers.
This slush fund is enough of an outrage and affront to warrant a massive march on Washington, should Congress not come clean and serial harassers not resign in disgrace.
And it’s another powerful argument for term limits.
Note to Congress: For these reasons and many more, you no longer have the consent of the governed.