Congress Reached a Tipping Point on Sexual Harassment This Week

Source: Time

By MAYA RHODAN

December 8, 2017

The national conversation on sexual harassment and assault reached a tipping point on Capitol Hill this week as lawmakers began facing serious consequences for their alleged behavior.

The week was bookended by revelations and resignations. Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold of Texas said he would pay back some $84,000 in taxpayer funds that were used to settle a sexual harassment claim levied against him in 2014.

Two Democratic members accused of misconduct announced they were stepping away from their posts: Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, who retired on Tuesday, and Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota, who announced he would be resigning from the Senate in a defiant speech on Thursday. Later that day, Rep. Trent Franks, a Republican from Arizona, also announced he will resign. Franks said in a statement that he had discussed surrogacy with former members of his staff just as the House Ethics Committee announced it would investigate whether that constitutes sexual harassment.

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