After Franken, Democrats struggle with harassment message

Democratic colleagues of the two lawmakers argued for the cases to go before their respective ethics committee, despite concerns that those procedures aren’t transparent. Only Representative Kathleen Rice, a New York Democrat with a history of bucking party leadership, has called on Conyers to resign. Even most Republicans have held off calling for Franken or Conyers to leave office.

Penny Lee, a former staffer for retired Senator Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said that Pelosi’s “lack of consistency” on Conyers’s case weakened the argument that Democrats have a zero tolerance policy against sexual harassment, as well as any arguments against Moore.

“The only way Democrats have credibility on this is to be consistent,” she said. “If you’re going to an advocate for victims you need to be an advocate for victims.”