From Donald Trump to George H. W. Bush: These Politicians Have Been Accused of Sexual Misconduct
The #MeToo movement is growing internationally, powerful moguls and actors are being held accountable for sexual misconduct, and a record-breaking number of politicians are resigning as a result of allegations.
The following 15 politicians have been accused of various acts of sexual misconduct in 2017 and 2018 alone. Congressmen and presidents alike (pages 7 and 13) are responding to the allegations with reflective statements, vehement denials, and resignation.
1. Roy Moore
- The number of accusers: At least 8
The Washington Post first released Leigh Corfman’s allegations against the Republican candidate for Alabama Senate Roy Moore. Corfman, now 53, accused Moore of sexual misconduct when she was 14 years old.
Six of Moore’s accusers were under 18 at the time of the alleged sexual misconduct. Moore denied all of the allegations. While it was once seen as a long shot, Moore lost the senate race to Democratic candidate Doug Jones in an unpredicted upset.
Next: The House of Ethics member who was investigated by his own committee.
2. Patrick Meehan
- The number of accusers: 1
Pennsylvania Rep. Patrick Meehan helped to investigate sexual misconduct claims in the House Ethics Committee. That is until he was removed and the committee began to investigate claims against him.
According to seven people familiar with Meehan and his former aide, Meehan had expressed serious, unrequited interest in the aide who was decades younger. Her identity remains private as a result of a confidentiality agreement the two signed that gave her a settlement using funds from Meehan’s congressional office. Meehan denied the allegations and announced he wouldn’t seek re-election.
Next: The case of the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives.
3. John Conyers
- The number of accusers: At least 1
A former staff member accused Rep. John Conyers, the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives, of firing her after she wouldn’t “succumb to [his] sexual advances.” BuzzFeed obtained documents from the complaint.
The documents include four signed affidavits, three of which are notarized, from former staff members who claim that Conyers made multiple sexual advances to female staff. The former employee, who requested anonymity, spoke with BuzzFeed News. “I was basically blackballed. There was nowhere I could go,” she said in a phone interview.
Next: This famous former comedian took a “joke” too far.
4. Al Franken
- The number of accusers: At least 7
Model and sports anchor Leeann Tweeden issued the first allegation against comedian-turned-politician Al Franken. Tweeden alleged that Franken kissed her during a skit rehearsal without her consent in 2006. Her second allegation, that he grabbed her breasts while she was asleep, was verified with photographic evidence.
Other women have accused Franken of groping them during photo ops as well as unwanted advances. Franken issued multiple apologies, including saying, “I feel terribly that I’ve made some women feel badly,” and resigned from the Senate on January 2, 2018.
Next: This Colorado representative is facing at least 10 allegations.
5. Steve Lebsock
- The number of accusers: At least 10
In November 2017, Colorado’s Democratic state rep. Faith Winter claimed that Democratic rep. Steve Lebsock made unprecedented sexual comments toward her and attempted to get her to leave the bar with him. Lebsock admitted that while “we were all drinking,” he couldn’t “say with certainty about every single word that was spoken.”
The same day Winter alleged that Lebsock made unwelcome advances toward her, nine others came forward to accuse Lebsock of sexual harassment.
Next: The politician who offered money for a potential surrogate — in the workplace.
6. Trent Franks
- The number of accusers: 2
Two employees who still remain anonymous accused Republican Arizona Rep. Trent Franks of offering $5 million to one female employee in exchange for her to be a surrogate mother for his children. The employees were “worried that the lawmaker wanted to have sex as a means of impregnating them,” The New York Times reported.
Franks said in a statement, “I deeply regret that my discussion of this option and process in the workplace caused distress.” He resigned from office on December 8, 2017.
Next: This former president has recently faced allegations.
7. George H. W. Bush
- The number of accusers: 8
Actress Heather Lind was the first woman to accuse former U.S. President George H.W. Bush of sexual misconduct. She alleged that Bush touched her backside multiple times during a press event in 2014. Multiple women, including Roslyn Corrigan, recounted similar stories to Time. Corrigan was 16 at the time of the alleged misconduct.
Bush spokesman Jim McGrath released a statement in response to allegations which partially credited the former president’s handicap for his hand placement. “At age 93, President Bush has been confined to a wheelchair for roughly five years, so his arm falls on the lower waist of people with whom he takes pictures … To anyone he has offended, President Bush apologizes most sincerely.” Multiple of the alleged accounts took place before Bush was in a wheelchair.
Next: This former politician faced the most accusations in 2017.
8. Wesley Goodman
- The number of accusers: At least 30
Wesley Goodman was a Republican state legislator from Ohio who ran his campaign on states’ rights and repealing the Affordable Care Act. He promoted both “the ideals of a loving father and mother” as well as “a committed natural marriage” on his campaign’s website.
According to multiple reports, Goodman engaged in and sought multiple consensual sexual encounters with other men. The Washington Post reported that Goodman unzipped his pants and groped an 18-year-old at a campaign event in 2015. Goodman resigned and admitted to engaging in “inappropriate behavior” with a person at his office.
Next: One of the four legislators from this state facing allegations of sexual misconduct.
9. Paul Rosenthal
- Number of accusers: At least 3
Paul Rosenthal, a Colorado Democratic member of the House of Representatives, is one of four Colorado legislators who faced sexual misconduct allegations in 2017. The Denver Post reported that Rosenthal allegedly “groped and made unwanted advances toward another gay man at a 2012 political event.”
Next: This representative’s advances led a campaign employee to quit her job.
10. Ruben Kihuen
- The number of accusers: 1
Samantha, who worked on now-Democratic Rep. Ruben Kihuen’s campaign, quit after Kihuen made multiple unpromoted and undesired sexual advances towards her.
She told BuzzFeed News that Kihuen commented the two should get a hotel room together while campaigning, touched her thighs without consent, and asked her if she had ever cheated on her boyfriend multiple times. Kihuen released a statement reading, “I sincerely apologize for anything that I may have said or done that made her feel uncomfortable.”
Next: This politician offered his support in exchange for sexual favors.
11. Jack Latvala
- The number of accusers: 6
Six women accused Republican Florida State Senator Jack Latvala of sexual harassment. The women held various government positions including staffers and lobbyists from both parties.
One complaint, in particular, was made to retired Judge Ronald Swanson. Swanson filed a 33-page report that allegedly documented explicit texts between Latvala and an unnamed lobbyist. Latvala agreed to support her agenda in exchange for sexual favors. Latvala resigned, writing, “I have never intentionally dishonored my family, my constituents or the Florida Senate.”
Next: This politician won’t seek re-election following allegations against him.
12. Blake Farenthold
- Number of accusers: 1
Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold’s former communications director sued him for sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and “creating a hostile work environment.” The former director received an $84,000 settlement for the case.
While on December 4, 2017, Farenthold claimed he “didn’t do anything wrong,” he admitted to fostering a negative work environment in a video posted to his campaign’s Facebook page 10 days later. Farenthold announced he will not seek re-election in 2018.
Next: The President of the United States has faced the second-largest number of sexual misconduct allegations.
13. Donald Trump
- The number of accusers: At least 21
At least three women have filed accusations against President Trump in court since 1989: his ex-wife Ivana Trump, businesswoman Jill Harth, and The Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos. During Trump’s 2016 campaign for POTUS, a tape leaked where he told Billy Bush a celebrity like himself could “do anything to women,” and that he just “grab[s] ’em by the p***y.”
Since the Access Hollywood tape leaked, more than a dozen women have publicly accused Trump of engaging in unwanted physical contact spanning decades. Trump owned the Miss Universe franchise from 1996-2015 and five women alleged that he would unexpectedly enter the dressing rooms while they were “in various stages of undress.”
Next: One of the numerous politicians whose case has been settled using taxpayer dollars.
14. Alcee Hastings
- The number of accusers: 1
In December 2017, a Capitol Hill news outlet Roll Call reported a former commission staffer accused Florida Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings of sexual misconduct. Roll Call obtained documents in which the former staff member alleged the congressman touched her, threatened her position, and made unwanted sexual advances toward her.
The documents read that the Treasury Department paid $220,000 to settle the lawsuit the woman pressed against Hastings. Hastings denied allegations and claimed he wasn’t aware that the settlement was funded by taxpayers until the story broke.
Next: Here’s how Congress is attempting to change Capitol Hill culture.
Only one resolution has been updated to address sexual misconduct
The Century Foundation, or TCF, highlighted the gaps in the existing congressional anti-harassment legislation. Democratic Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar introduced the Senate Anti-Harassment Training Resolution of 2017 to update the 1995 Congressional Accountability Act.
It requires all Senate staff and interns to publicly show they underwent mandatory sexual assault/harassment training within their first six days. The resolution passed unanimously two days later. Speaker Paul Ryan announced the House of Representatives would update its sexual harassment policy as well.
Next: The two pieces of legislation that experts believe may truly effect change.
Only time can tell how effective the legislation will be
A 2016 EEOC study found that employees often ignore initiatives like those passed by the Senate. They recommended “bystander intervention techniques that have been met with success on college campuses,” TCF reported.
There are two pieces of legislation that may be able to make the serious change Capitol Hill needs, including the Member and Employee Training and Oversight On (ME TOO) Congress Act. “Workplace harassment is a widespread problem that affects too many men and women in too many places, professions, and industries. Congress is not immune to this,” Klobacher said.
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