It is difficult to think of any information whose disclosure would be more in the public interest than the knowledge that Rep. Blueblazer McEntrepreneurship or Sen. Wokeman Goldflake or trusted members of their respective entourages harassed or even assaulted women. How it ever came to pass that such cases were not made immediately available to the public is one of those extraordinary mysteries that only Washington could produce.
This is not an argument against compensating victims (though as it happens I think we are due for a serious discussion about the benefits of a system that allows those with money to paper over accusations again and again, obscuring what should be an obvious pattern) but against the absurd idea that elected officials are like employees of a major corporation, one with certain responsibilities to employees that ultimately fall upon shareholders. Today’s elected officials are not stolid Ciceronian statesmen in a constitutional republic; they are professional fundraisers, people who glad-hand and beg for a living. They have plenty of money, and like the rest of us, they should be responsible for paying for their own crimes. Even if it’s not sitting there in the campaign coffers, surely their paymasters on Wall Street can be counted on. Sexual harassment in Congress is an open secret. Surely for the donor class the spiritual and emotional well-being of a few score women have long been regarded as the price of securing tax cuts or seeing their preferred financial regulations passed.