I held off on blogging the sexual harassment allegations earlier since Massa claims he’s retiring due to a recurrence of cancer, not any impropriety. But evidently this was serious enough for senior people to get involved. Paterson, Rangel, now this guy: I do believe there’s a narrative a-brewin’.
[S]everal House aides told POLITICO that the House ethics committee has been informed of allegations that the New York Democrat, who is married with two children, made unwanted advances toward a junior male staffer.
A more senior staffer — Ronald Hikel, Massa’s former deputy chief of staff and legislative director — took the complaints to the ethics committee and was interviewed about them twice…
[Steny] Hoyer’s office released the following statement Wednesday night:
“The week of February 8th, a member of Rep. Massa’s staff brought to the attention of Mr. Hoyer’s staff allegations of misconduct that had been made against Mr. Massa. Mr. Hoyer’s staff immediately informed him of what they had been told. Mr. Hoyer instructed his staff that if Mr. Massa or his staff did not bring the matter to the attention of the bipartisan Ethics Committee within 48 hours, Mr. Hoyer would do so. Within 48 hours, Mr. Hoyer received confirmation from both the Ethics Committee staff and Mr. Massa’s staff that the Ethics Committee had been contacted and would review the allegations. Mr. Hoyer does not know whether the allegations are true or false, but wanted to ensure that the bipartisan committee charged with overseeing conduct of Members was immediately involved to determine the facts.”
Good thing for the Dems that Hoyer took this seriously; if he’d dithered the way the GOP did with the allegations against Mark Foley, they’d have a raging fire to put out here. As it is, I wonder how much damage this’ll do. Given that Massa’s a freshman and retiring and ill, is he really going to be a target for the GOP even if the accusations prove true? Democrats will just cry “homophobia” and “cancer patient” if Republicans go after him on the ethical point. Why bother?