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Eric Massa Scandal

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Eric Massa Scandal

On March 9, 2010 Eric Massa, a Democratic Representative for the state of New York resigned from political office due to allegations of sexual misconduct with several of his male staffers (Biography 2010). In an attempt to not allow another "Mark Foley" type situation happen again (Politico 2010). However, rumors of Massa's sexual misconduct with his staffers had been circulating among the Republicans and Democrats on Capital Hill (Politico 2010). GOP operatives had even been swayed to investigate on them, however a lack of evidence was an issue (Politico 2010). This all changed when former Representative Massa's legeslative director, Ronald Hikel, contacted the office of House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer in early February (Politico 2010). Hikel was Massa's legislative director and deputy chief of staff (Politico 2010). Hikel accused Massa of having harrassed another staffer (Politico 2010). Like in many other cases with this allegation and Massa's statement saying he would not be going up for reelection, many other claims were coming forward (Politico 2010). An aide to Massa claimed that he had been engaging in inappropriate behavior "for the last eight months," in a statement given to POLITICO (Politico 2010). A day after Massa's statement to not run for reelection the House ethics committee confirmed that they would be "investigating and gathering additional information concerning matters related to the allegations" against Massa (Politico 2010). House insiders said that many of Massa's aides had been interviewed by the committee in regard to the allegations surrounding their boss (Politico 2010). However, Massa himself had not yet been notified by the ethics panel or recieved any type of formal complaint (Politico 2010).

The allegations that the Eric Massa were faced with comprised of three different instances where Massa groped a male staffer, and in one instance inappropriate physical behavior with an intern (Politico 2010). Also, Massa lived with many of his aides in a Capitol Hill townhouse, allegations have come about that Massa made the staffers in the townhouse feel like they had no options and were subject to a "frat house environment," consisting of inappropriate language and behavior (The Washington Post 2010). An attorney for one of the staffers, Debra Katz summed up the situation in this way "It speaks to the significant power differential that exists between members of Congress and the personnel they employ. Staffers by and large are fearful of retaliation and career suicide if they file complaints or go outside of their offices to report sexual harassment,"(The Washington Post 2010). The first incident to come out delt with Massa supposedly hitting on a guy at a wedding (Politico 2010). Massa explained himself on a visit to the Glenn Beck show on the topic of this allegation and the others. Massa claimed that everyone had had too much to drink and that after dancing with one of the bridesmaids he went back over to sit with his staffers and the other bachelors. He said that they were saying the typical male things "you oughta do this, you oughta do that," and then he grabbed one of the guys and said "I oughta do it to you," as he touseled their hair (Fox News 2010). Another one of the main incidents that has been brought to the attention of the public is Massa's inappropriate behavior with a male staffer at his 50th birthday party (Politico 2010). Massa was reported, and confirmed it himself, to have "groped" and "tickled" one of his staffers. Massa again explains himself on the Glenn Beck show stating that he did infact grope a male staffer (Fox News 2010), He says "not only did I grope him, I tickled him until he couldn't breathe and four guys jumped on top of me. It was my 50th birthday. It was kill the old guy," (Fox News 2010). Massa went on to say that "you can take anything out of context,"(Fox News 2010). Throughout the course of the interview with Glenn Beck, Massa owned up to all of his allegations, saying that they were his fault and no one elses (Fox News 2010).

With a seemingly neverending amount of allegations piling up on Eric Massa, the incident that got him brought before the House ethics committee occurred on February 2nd (Washington Post 2010). Joe Racalto, Massa's chief of staff had recieved many complaints from male staffers that Massa was acting in inappropriate ways (Washington Post 2010). Racalto reportedly confronted Massa on the claims but stated he had difficulty controlling his boss, and that he lacked a manual to guide him (Washington Post 2010). When confronted by Racalto Massa denied doing anything improper (Washington Post 2010). In 2009 Racalto tried to deny Massa the right of being alone with any of the staffers, which would include living in the townhouse

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