April 18, 2010

ELEANOR CLIFT: Why were complaints about Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY) not made public for so long? Because of the culture of Capitol Hill. “It took just three weeks for upstate New York Democratic Rep. Eric Massa to resign his seat in Congress after accusations surfaced that he had sexually harassed members of his staff. The long trail of unwanted and often abusive advances that preceded his resignation—and why his alleged behavior went unreported for so long—highlights how much Capitol Hill is a feudal society, with each member the lord of his or her own territory.”

This also explains the hauteur with which they greet complaints from constituents.

UPDATE: A whole slew of readers note that Clift was not making “institutional” excuses when the Republican congressional leadership was confronted with the Mark Foley affair. Good point.