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Ethics Committee should still investigate Eric Massa

When Larry King asked former Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) if he was gay, he responded, "Ask the 10,000 sailors I served with in the Navy." Well, Joshua Green at The Atlantic did ask some of the sailors who served with Massa. They reveal a pattern of a predator using his higher rank to take advantage of subordinates who did not welcome his many advances -- and who did not report him for fear of retribution. It is a pattern that we're painfully aware of today. This is why I believe the House ethics committee was wrong to end its investigation into Massa's conduct while on The Hill.

Among other things, Massa retold the wedding story and then admitted to Glenn Beck on Tuesday that he groped a male staffer and that a tickle fight ensued.

The Post reports today that Massa's chief of staff became alarmed when he found out that the congressman was due to have lunch with a young staffer from Rep. Barney Frank's (D-Mass.) office. This is the same chief of staff who Massa said had a conniption over his living in a group house with his young male staff. These are all signs that something more alarming could be lurking in the shadows. From what we already know, Massa's behavior is troubling. If he crossed the line, he must be held accountable.

Former representative Mark Foley (R-Fla.) was investigated by the ethics committee after he resigned in 2006 due to claims that he sent sexually explicit messages to former male pages. By snuffing the ethics inquiry, House Democratic leadership is handing their Republican counterparts yet another club with which to beat them. (When you have no ideas, any and all distractions from that fact come in handy.) More importantly, if Massa did wrong, he needs to be held accountable. By closing its investigation, the ethics committee could be letting a troubled man with a disturbing pattern of harassment get away with it.

By Jonathan Capehart  | March 11, 2010; 8:48 AM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Massa Abated - A Haiku:

Posted by: haiku360 | March 11, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse


Er... Eric Massa has resigned? He is no longer in Congress; an ethics probe would be the very definition of pointless.

More to the point: what, exactly, has he "gotten away with"? Being a awkward little man who can't come to terms with his true sexuality? If we criminalize that, the prisons are going to be awfully full...

Posted by: howlless | March 11, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

I agree, Mr. Capehart. From what I'm reading this morning, the House Democratic leadership appears to be on the hot seat with this one, which also seems to conveniently explain the decision to shut down the ethics investigation. The more I've followed this story, the more it appears this story has some legs. After all of the House sleight of hand under the Republicans' leadership, the Democrats should have never allowed themselves to get into this position. They better get out in front of this story, and soon.

Posted by: crikey | March 11, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

The 3 biggest jokes in D.C.

1- G.W. Bush
2- Republicans
3- Ethics Committee

None of the 3 have ever worked in Washington.

Posted by: 1-20-09 | March 11, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Crossed the line in what way? Is it now a crime for a Congressman to have relations with an adult of the same sex?

It seems to me that if the Democratic leadership was investigating the personal life of this individual, if they were pryng into his personal life then they are the ones who have to answer why?

Posted by: krush01 | March 11, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Gropophillia is a common disorder that is cured by a slap in the face. The disorder has been given notoriety by a former congressman named Eric Massa. He was fortunate that he controlled his disorder by limiting his groping to males. The groping of a female is a criminal offense that could lead to the imprisonment of the gropophile.

Posted by: melvin_polatnick | March 11, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

And Pelosi knew about his unethical behavior back in October? The Progressive Swamp Queen was only doing what she does best - protect her Swamp Critters at all costs. Unethical? Yes! Disgusting? Yes! Normal Behavior? H@&& Yes!!! Is it news? No! It is only news when it isn't normal behavior.

Posted by: DL13 | March 11, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Those darn Republicans. They baited Massa with all of those hearings about gays in the military, big strapping military guys in uniforms wandering around the halls of Congress, how could a guy like Massa resist ticking or pinching. What a disgrace, if we could only get rid of those Republicans this country would be safe for people like Massa.

Posted by: Pelosiforpres | March 11, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

This is a waste of time. It is exactly what Americans are sick and tired of. Even if there was an investigation it would not lead to criminal charges so why bother. An investigation would be a colossal waste of taxpayer money. How can the House Republicans scream for an investigation that they must know will lead to nowhere and then turn around and complain about the federal deficit. Focus on the important matters facing this country not the political ones. I'm sick to death of this Republican/Democrat mudslinging.

Posted by: blackandred777 | March 11, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

If Massa has any credibility, can any of this be linked to the HC vote?
He says they (Dems) were "concerned" about his vote.

Was Nancy going to go public with this info anyway if Massa was not going along with the HC??
He's a nut, but is there some behind the scenes stuff that we don't know.
Nancy is good at twisting arms, penalizing, etc. Would she be this corrupt?? Just a thought.

Posted by: pjcafe | March 11, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

What Massa did could be sexual harrassment, which, if grevious enough, could be a criminal matter, but the groping and tickling of adults does not seem to meet that. Mark Foley, on the other hand was molesting minor children who were under the protection of the congress. And even though the leadership knew he was misbehaving, they took no action until it became a public embarrassment. Not the same.

Posted by: stumpf3743 | March 11, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

As a New Yorker from the 29th District I view Massa as a modern day Benedict Arnold. His comments in the past "killing babies" taken a little out of context but you catch my drift creates a man with a knack for serving the interests of our conservative constituents. Teenagers call this posing. Massa is doing due-diligence for the conservative interests in my district. I wonder how they will reward him? I'm researching Benedict Arnold to see how this next act will play out! Conservatives in Massachusetts worry about Scott Brown; well we have Eric Massa. He has wasted our vote and I'm mad.

Posted by: squiggle | March 12, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

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