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What are the rules?

November 30, 2017

Does Congress have the power to expel or reject a duly elected member for sexual misconduct alleged but not proven, without consulting the people who elected the member?

What about people who weren’t even in Congress when the alleged transgressions occurred?  Can they be denied a seat even though they were duly elected?

Congress certainly seems to think it does have that power, under Article I, Section 5 of the United States Constitution, which leaves it up to each body to define the “disorderly behavior” that can bring up a vote for expulsion.

So far, that definition seems to need a little more specificity, not to mention better actual application.

Does the degree matter?  For instance, if a man repeatedly leers at all women, or makes crude general comments, is that the same thing as locking them in an office and raping them?

Certainly some of the evidence seems pretty irrefutable, as in the case of Al Franken and Matt Lauer. In most of the other cases, the sheer volume of complainants lends at least some credibility to the charges.

If the news is to be believed, one of the election qualifications for male candidates seems to be to have a wide streak of sexual immorality.

You have to wonder how many other men besides John Conyers are developing a “stress related illness” waiting for the hammer to fall.

Judging by the news, it’s not too much of a stretch to believe that if all the possibly guilty parties were booted out at once, we might see the first all-female Congress.

That said, at some point a man is going to fight back.  It would be nice to know just what the rules for Congress are, other than group embarrassment. They certainly don’t seem to mirror the ones the majority of us live by.

And really, does ANYONE think that mandatory training would have stopped these men?  What happened to the “No means no” campaign?

Along with disciplining offenders should be some sort of policy making any supervisor who fails to take action on a credible complaint equally liable to being fired.

All any woman should have had to do was say, just one time,  “Stop doing that. It makes me uncomfortable.” and the behavior should have stopped. The very next time it happened should have been grounds to take it to HR or a supervisor. Everyone who ever worked in the real world knows that, with or without training.

But  then, who says Washington represents the real world?

From → op-ed

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