The Jury Talks Back


Congressional Black Caucus Member: Elected Officials Are A Protected And Entitled Class

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 1:35 pm

[guess post by Dana]

It is being reported that some members of the Congressional Black Caucus are encouraging Democratic Rep. John Conyers to resign in light of recent revelations about sexual misconduct allegations and a taxpayer-funded payout made to an alleged victim. However, according to one staffer’s comments, the priority seems to be more about protecting Conyer’s legacy than anything else.

This morning, Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) demonstrated a staggering level of tone-deaf arrogance when he revealed his belief that the standards of accountability for an elected official caught up in sexual misconduct allegations should be less than those from private industry facing similar circumstances. The stunning revelation happened when Clyburn and the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Cedric Richmond (D-La.) were confronted by reporters who questioned the different standards, citing those in the entertainment industry who have lost their jobs as a result of sexual misconduct scandals:

“Other men in other industries have faced similar accusations, and have gotten out of the way – resigned, stepped down far faster than he has,” a reporter said in the video, referring to Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.).

“I don’t know, you would have to give me some examples,” Richmond responded.

“Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer,” reporters said.

“Who elected them?” Clyburn said before getting on an elevator. The doors closed before he clarified the remark.

That’s right. Politicians are elected, therefore they shouldn’t be held to the same standards as anyone else. They are a protected and privileged class of elites that should be handled with kid gloves. Call me crazy, but in my world, I expect them to be held to an even higher standard of accountability, given that they are elected by the people, as well as their salaries being paid by the people. Clyburn’s smug conceit adds clarity to why Congress is so loathed by the vast majority of Americans.

This morning’s revelation is also unsurprising given that last week, when the allegations against John Conyers were made public, Clyburn initially said that “Sexual harassment is a very serious matter and cannot be tolerated,” but immediately followed that by expressing doubts about the accusers.

I maintain that the danger of these politicians is, not only do they believe themselves to be in a class above the rest of us, they do so because they have learned that they can get away with their bad behavior, including that of sexual impropriety toward subordinates and staffers. They’ve done so for decades because the established system has allowed them to. And in spite of all the current demands to overhaul sexual harassment policies in Congress, when the terms “icon” and “legacy” are being used by powerful Democrats to shield a member facing serious allegations, I don’t think an overhaul of this built-in “perk” that comes with being a member of Congress will actually be accompanied by any teeth.


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