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Photo via Brad Clinesmith/Flickr (CC-BY-SA)
One political veteran described ‘sex trade on Capitol Hill.’
Creeps are walking the halls of Capitol Hill.
Amid the outpouring of #MeToo testimonials of sexual assault, harassment, and degradation of women in America, a new report from CNN reveals the slithering underbelly extends into the top lawmaking body of the United States.
The problem of sexual misconduct in Congress is so pervasive, CNN reports, that female staffers and lawmakers keep an informal “creep list” of men who are known to make inappropriate passes at women on the Hill. As CNN, which spoke to 50 lawmakers as well as aides and other “political veterans,” describes it:
In an environment with “so many young women,” said one ex-House aide, the men “have no self-control.” “Amongst ourselves, we know,” a former Senate staffer said of the lawmakers with the worst reputations. And sometimes, the sexual advances from members of Congress or senior aides are reciprocated in the hopes of advancing one’s career—what one political veteran bluntly referred to as a “sex trade on Capitol Hill.”
Word of the “creep list” surfaced just after the Senate passed mandatory sexual harassment training for senators and their aides and the House held a hearing to address the chamber’s outdated sexual harassment policy.
A number of female lawmakers have voiced their own #MeToo stories of sexual assault and harassment. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) described during the House hearing various forms of harassment faced by staffers, including “victims having their private parts grabbed on the House floor.”
“All they ask in return as staff members is to be able to work in a hostile-free work environment,” she said. “They want the system fixed and the perpetrators held accountable.”
Meanwhile, male lawmakers are under fire for their past transgressions. On Thursday, Los Angeles radio news anchor Leeanne Tweeden said Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) forcibly kissed her in 2006 while the pair were rehearsing a skit for a performance for U.S. troops overseas. Tweeden also shared a photo of Franken grabbing her breasts while she slept.
— Leeann Tweeden (@LeeannTweeden) November 16, 2017
Franken responded by apologizing and calling for an ethics investigation into himself.
NEW FRANKEN STATEMENT pic.twitter.com/c3puSkK9Ts
— Sam Stein (@samstein) November 16, 2017
Given the existence of that “creep list,” something tells us Franken won’t be the last to fall.
Andrew Couts is the former editor of Layer 8, a section dedicated to the intersection of the Internet and the state—and the gaps in between. Prior to the Daily Dot, Couts served as features editor and features writer for Digital Trends, associate editor of TheWeek.com, and associate editor at Maxim magazine. When he’s not working, Couts can be found hiking with his German shepherds or blasting around on motorcycles.