December 11, 2017

SO PHIL BREDESEN IS RUNNING FOR THE CORKER SEAT IN TENNESSEE. He was a good governor, and I worked with him on a state commission and like him. But he’ll be running against a woman (Marsha Blackburn) in an election cycle where his own party is going to be going all Women Good, Men Bad.. So this doesn’t help: Top Democratic Tennessee Senate candidate Phil Bredesen’s gubernatorial administration was investigated for concealing details of sexual harassment allegations against high ranking political appointees.

Bredesen, who announced his Senate campaign Thursday, came under scrutiny in 2005 after state investigators shredded documents related to sexual harassment allegations brought against high-level administration officials. Bredesen justified the shredding on the basis that it was done to protect the identity of the victims.

The Tennessean, a Nashville-based daily, began investigating the office in 2005 after Bredesen’s senior adviser for legislation and policy, Mack Cooper, was suspended due to a workplace harassment claim. Reporters were unable to unearth any details about the claim because state investigators shredded all of their notes. . . .

Bredesen confirmed that White had in fact been accused one year before his suspension but insisted investigators were unable to corroborate the allegation. He was unable to prove the probe yielded no corroborating evidence because the top investigator shredded her notes and produced no written report detailing the investigation.

Both the AP and The Tennessean conducted investigations and determined that Bredesen’s administration treated sexual harassment claims against political appointees differently than those against low level state employees.

“In a review last year of 602 workplace harassment case files across all levels of state government, the AP reported that documents were shredded only in high-profile cases,” the AP found.

More here: Top Dem in Tennessee Senate Race Has Record of Covering Up Sexual Assault Allegations.

The incidents sparked investigations into whether shredding of documents relating to sexual assault was common throughout state government or whether it was unique to political appointees.

“The governor’s office has become involved in a select number of workplace harassment complaints against top state officials and has put them under a veil of secrecy that does not apply to ordinary state workers, a Tennessean review of case files shows,” the paper wrote in July 2005 after finding that shredding of documents was common for investigations into officials at the level of Cooper and White.

The AP, which conducted its own thorough review of workplace harassment in Bredesen’s office, came to a similar conclusion.

“In a review last year of 602 workplace harassment case files across all levels of state government, the AP reported that documents were shredded only in high-profile cases,” the AP similarly found around the same time.

The Tennessean‘s then editor, Everett J. Mitchell II, slammed Bredesen’s secrecy on high-profile cases, writing in his paper, “How is the public to be assured that the problem has been appropriately and adequately addressed if the public business is done in secrecy?”

Mitchell argued “the shredding of documents raises the specter there was more to it and that there was something to hide.”

More here.

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