Eric Massa: How Wide Is His Stance?

by John Hawkins | March 4, 2010 12:36 pm

So, how much chatter are you hearing about Eric Massa today? Maybe so little that you’re asking, “Who the heck’s Eric Massa?” He’s a netroots endorsed congressman from New York and he has apparently gotten caught up in a little Mark Foley/Larry Craig action[1]:

First-term Rep. Eric Massa announced Wednesday that he will not seek reelection, saying his doctors have told him that he can’t continue to “run at 100 miles an hour.”

But several House aides told POLITICO that the House ethics committee has been informed of allegations that the New York Democrat, who is married with two children, made unwanted advances toward a junior male staffer.

A more senior staffer – Ronald Hikel, Massa’s former deputy chief of staff and legislative director – took the complaints to the ethics committee and was interviewed about them twice.

Hikel declined to comment about the situation, but House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) confirmed that the Democratic leadership had been informed of the allegations before the news broke.

“I’ve heard of that allegation before,” he said. “I had some indication, yes, but I don’t want to go beyond that. And my presumption [is] it’s being pursued in the course of business.”

…Hoyer said news of the sexual harassment allegation – coming on the same day Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) gave up his gavel on the Ways and Means Committee – shouldn’t give Republicans a leg up in November.

“I don’t think it helps anybody in the institution, any one of us on either side of the aisle. It certainly didn’t help Mr. Foley,” Hoyer said, referring to former Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.), who resigned from Congress in 2006 amid allegations that he sent sexually explicit instant messages to an underage male page.

“When there were allegations about Mr. Foley or others, I think the institution suffers,” Hoyer continued. “And that’s why it’s so important that each of us conducts ourselves in a way that won’t bring discredit on the institution.”

Of course Steny Hoyer wouldn’t think that Charles Rangel FINALLY getting pushed out of Ways and Means and Eric Massa getting caught up in a Mark Foley style sex scandal wouldn’t “give Republicans a leg up in November.”

But, it seems to me that Democrats promised to come in and clean up Congress, didn’t they? Yet, here’s Steny Hoyer with his own Mark Foley on his hands, playing the same role that Dennis Hastert did back in 2006. Democrats called for Hastert to resign back then and if they believed their own bs, they’d be demanding that Hoyer resign because he knew about Massa’s behavior. Now, me? I believe my own bs; so since I didn’t say Hastert should resign, I won’t call for Hoyer to step down either.

What I will say, however, is that Republicans should trumpet Massa’s name from the hilltops this year, just like the Dems did with Foley in 2006. Let them get a taste of their own medicine!

  1. Mark Foley/Larry Craig action:

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