Rep. Behind Sexual Harassment Bill Accused of Ignoring Claims About Top Aide
Rep. Brenda Lawrence thinks Congress needs to do something about sexual harassment following all that has occurred following Harvey Weinstein's fall from grace. It's the typical knee-jerk reaction from a politician who feels it's imperative to be seen taking action.
One problem, though. Several women have voiced complaints about her own chief of staff, according to a report at Politico. Lawrence reportedly has taken no action on this alleged harassment in her own office.
Three women who used to work for Lawrence claim they told the congresswoman directly about how they had been treated by Dwayne Duron Marshall. Two explicitly stated that his inappropriate comments and physical contact were the reasons they left their jobs there.
Despite the complaints, Marshall still works for the Democrat from Michigan.
In October on ABC's This Week, Rep. Lawrence said this about Harvey Weinstein and the #MeToo epidemic:
You have to set a tone. You have to establish this benchmark of zero tolerance.
It appears her benchmark of tolerance is calibrated well above zero. For her part, Lawrence told Politico that she was ignorant of any accusations of impropriety within her office:
I want to be very clear, very firm, that I had no knowledge of any allegations of sexual harassment in my office, and when I say none, I mean none.
I have had individual conversations with some of my employees when they had exit interviews. I’ve had one-on-ones and we have discussed things in the office that they felt we could do better. I have implemented training and other positive forms of correction.
But I have not, and I want to be very clear, have not ever, had an employee -- former or present -- talk to me about sexual harassment in my office.
The three women told Politico they had directly given their complaints to Lawrence, with two of them giving Marshall's behavior as the reason they left. Lawrence now claims she was informed about "management" issues, but appears to deny that the issues amounted to sexual harassment.