No wonder Dems have dropped inquiry into allegations against Massa (PM UPDATE: ETHICS PROBE WILL HAPPEN, THANKS TO GOP PUSH)

Posted by: ST on March 11, 2010 at 10:26 am

The WaPo reports this morning that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office was informed back in October about alleged incidents of inappropriate behavior on the part of now-former NY Rep. Eric Massa:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office was notified in October by then-Rep. Eric Massa’s top aide of concerns about the New York Democrat’s behavior, two congressional sources familiar with the matter said Wednesday night.

Joe Racalto, Massa’s chief of staff, was uneasy that Massa, 50, was living with several young, unmarried male staffers and using sexually explicit language with them, one source said. But what finally prompted him to call Pelosi’s director of member services, the source said, was a lunch date that Massa made with a congressional aide in his 20s who worked in the office of Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.).

According to a person briefed on the call, Racalto was concerned that the lunch followed a pattern by Massa — who is married and has two children — of trying to spend time alone with young gay men with no ostensible work purpose. Racalto, according to this person, also alerted Frank’s chief of staff. The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the political sensitivity of the matter.

[...]

Neither Racalto nor anyone from Pelosi’s office responded immediately to requests for comment Wednesday night. Massa could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

The revelation about warnings to Pelosi’s office comes as the House ethics committee closed its short-lived investigation of allegations that Massa groped and sexually harassed several young, male staffers in his office, according to two sources familiar with the decision.

The committee concluded that Massa’s resignation put him outside the reach of any punishment it could impose and would render any findings irrelevant. The decision set up a political battle with House Republicans, who are already targeting congressional Democrats with campaign ads saying they have failed to look deeply enough into the ethical transgressions of their party members.

Republicans signaled Wednesday that they wanted the inquiry to continue, despite Massa’s departure. Senior Republicans in the House said the public deserves to know whether Democratic leaders were aware of the allegations of Massa’s misconduct longer than they have acknowledged and whether they failed to act to protect junior staffers.

GOP leaders cited as precedent the committee’s 2006 decision to investigate claims that Mark Foley, a Florida Republican, sent sexually explicit messages to former male pages. The committee’s decision came after Foley stepped down from Congress. That inquiry also examined how some House leaders ignored claims about Foley’s conduct while others tried to shield his behavior from public disclosure.

Sounds like this could very well be the Democrats’ “Foleygate” moment. Jennifer Rubin, referencing Poltico’s report on what Pelosi’s office knew and when, sees shades of Foleygate in all this as wel, but adds:

Granted, the Democrats have time to correct the problem. They could, if they are inclined to, conduct a serious investigation into who knew what and when. But the presence of a growing, nasty ethics scandal and the judgment of the House speaker at a time when the Democrats are struggling with ObamaCare smacks of the perfect storm — the convergence of bad news and awful media that has the potential to sink the majority party. And should the Democrats sweep this under the rug — for Massa is now departed — the stench will linger for months.

Arguably, 2010 isn’t like 2006 or 1994. This time there is ObamaCare, Massa, Charlie Rangel, the spigot of red ink, and sky-high unemployment. So 2010 could well be worse for the party in power, which suddenly seems as though it can’t get anything right.

What comes around goes around, and all that.

Update – 6:19 PM: Sorry for the late update. Been a hectic day on multiple fronts. I see that the ethics probe will go on after all into who knew what and when, thanks to a strong push by the House GOP. Good for them. Michelle Malkin’s got the details and the roll call vote.

That said, I’m not expecting too much out of this, because essentially you’ve got Democrats policing each other. Not only that, but as ST reader NC Cop notes in the comments:

However, I have a feeling NOW the media will focus on this. Of course, it will be to bash Republicans for playing “partisan politics” or for focusing on politics when the nation is “hurting” so badly. You get the idea. In the end the “investigation” will go nowhere or be dropped later.

Yep. Even though the media has reported on this story more than I figured they would, now that the ethics probe will happen I suspect that NC Cop’s prediction is right on the mark. We saw the same BS happen during the Lewinksy scandal. It always cracks me up to hear liberals try and say there’s no way the media was liberally biased during the Clinton years because “they covered MonicaGate in great detail!!!” Of course, what these same liberals will never admit is that the media, while indeed reporting it, focused on making Bubba a “victim” of a “vast right wing conspiracy”, while at the same time trying to paint the GOP as being “obsessed with sex” when in actuality it was the lying under oath that most concerned the GOP. And in the end, the media’s portrayal of Clinton aided him in avoiding a complete impeachment, and seeing his approval ratings hover in the mid-50s throughout the scandal.

This afternoon’s vote is an interesting development, but I suspect it’s mostly symbolic in nature. Congressional Democrats aren’t exactly well known for holding their own accountable.

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9 Responses to “No wonder Dems have dropped inquiry into allegations against Massa (PM UPDATE: ETHICS PROBE WILL HAPPEN, THANKS TO GOP PUSH)”

Comments

  1. Paul says:

    Another sex scandal ?

  2. Carlos says:

    “They could, if they are inclined to, conduct a serious investigation…”

    Oh, really? When will that happen, when pigs (real ones, not congresspeople) fly?

    The Ethics Committee hasn’t conducted a serious investigation of anything not politically tainted for decades. And do you really think Nazi Pelousy would allow that to happen on her watch?

    There is no way to get rid of any but the least of corruption in D.C., because it is not only entrenched in the halls of Congress but in every branch of bureaucracy throughout the nation.

    Bureaucrats are believed by the general public to be as trustworthy as, say, your local sleazy used car dealer or internet scam artist. And rightfully so, from what I can tell from a cursory reading of the Constitution.

  3. Great White Rat says:

    Sounds like this could very well be the Democrats’ “Foleygate” moment.

    Logically, yes, it should. But if you think Massa’s groping will get the same 24/7 hammering from the MSM they gave Foley’s e-mails, you’re just wrong. It’ll be swept under the rug like any other scandal that might damage their leftist masters.

  4. GWR,

    I’m with you – I’m absolutely certain the MSM won’t cover this the way they did the Foley scandal, but it is getting enough attention now that I think people are starting to take notice, which is probably way Patrick Kennedy went off on the House floor yesterday. He wants to take the focus off his party’s scandals and is using the “we should focus more on the troops” rant in an attempt to divert/distort.

  5. tailgunner says:

    The only relevant difference between Massa’s alleged behavior and that of Bill Clinton, besides Massa not having perjured himself, is Massa’s apparent bisexuality.

    Clinton was protected by the MSM and Democrats. Massa was on track to be crucified.

    This is blatant Democratic discrimination based on sexual orientation. Once more Dems prove themselves to be bigoted hypocrites.

  6. Tex says:

    Fox News just announced that the House voted to continue the probe into the Massa fiasco. They can’t touch Massa now because he resigned. But the investigation is now supposed to focus on Pelosi and her involvement in this mess. In particular, the Republicans want to know why she told them she didn’t know anything about this until March 3 while in fact it has been discovered her staff (and most likely her) knew about this back in October.

    Pelosi seems to have a pattern here of selective memory. By the way, what ever happened to that mess of Pelosi accusing the CIA of lying about telling her the waterboarding stuff going on during meetings with her back in the early 2000s? It seems its OK for her to outright lie to the American people for political gain and then just conveniently forget about it. The burden of proof should be on her to prove the CIA lied. So far from what I’ve seen, the CIA has shown beyond a doubt, through testimony from those who where present during the meetings, that Pelosi knew about the waterboarding and approved it.

    In my opinion, if seriously investigated, I have no doubt there are more than enough skeletons in Pelosi’s closet to probably land an impeachment against her …. and possibly a criminal indictment … or two … or three.

  7. Carlos says:

    The difference between Foley and Massa is that jackasses lie and everyone knows it, while Republicans are “family values” folks and have to live up to that standard.

    In other words, ethics are totally and completely relevant: relevant to whether one is a jackass or Republican.

    The MSM understands this. The jackasses understand this. Most thinking people understand this.

    Why don’t elected Republicans understand this?

  8. NC Cop says:

    Fox News just announced that the House voted to continue the probe into the Massa fiasco. They can’t touch Massa now because he resigned. But the investigation is now supposed to focus on Pelosi and her involvement in this mess.

    I saw that, Tex. However, I have a feeling NOW the media will focus on this. Of course, it will be to bash Republicans for playing “partisan politics” or for focusing on politics when the nation is “hurting” so badly. You get the idea. In the end the “investigation” will go nowhere or be dropped later.

    It always helps when you have the boot licking media on your side!!!