|U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AL)|
The brewing scandal was a major topic of discussion at a meeting of Alabama lobbyists and legislators in early January at Mobile, sources tell LS. In fact, it sounds like little substantive work got done because of the swirling scandal. For now, U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer (6th Dist, AL) appears to be the most likely Alabamian in Congress to face scrutiny. He won a 2014 election to fill Spencer Bachus' old seat. From our source:
Two weeks ago there was a lobbyist meeting in Mobile held to discuss the Alabama Legislative Agenda and what Candidates for State Offices and Federal Offices would be supported or Defeated.
During this meeting 2 Major Alabama Lobbyists (that represent the 2 Largest money making businesses in Alabama) . . . made the comments that the NY Times and Washington Post were working on stories that would expose a large number of US Representatives and Senators as a part of the Sexual Assault and Cover Up Payments Scandal.
That's enough to get your attention, but then there is more:
This story will list names of Congressmen and show the amounts paid to each woman/man and the actual crime. One of those names was said to be Gary Palmer.
Gary Palmer may also be overseeing the fund. Gary Palmer has been accused by two women but the NYT and Washington Post have not released the story.
This will go much deeper.
This needs to go much deeper, and it needs to expose all the Alabama creeps in D.C., not just Gary Palmer. Stories of alleged sexual misconduct have been swirling around Palmer, going back to his days as director of Alabama Policy Institute (API). This time it sounds like the stories might come with significant traction.
How ugly could all of it get? Just last December, we learned the following from The Hill:
In the backdrop of the Al Franken scandal is the recent revelation that Congress has its own special “shush” fund through the Office of Compliance to pay off victims of abuse and harassment. Those payoff amounts are no trivial matter. According to a recent Washington Post article, 264 complainants received a total of $17.2 million between 1997 and 2017. Before American taxpayers were even able to process the underlying scandal that our tax dollars have been misused to silence sexual harassment victims, we learned two new facts that further cast a dark shadow over Capitol Hill.
What are those facts, and how bad could they get for members of both parties?
The first revelation is that Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) allegedly sexually harassed women, including his own staff members. But this scandal comes with a different twist. Rather than use the designated “shush” fund, Conyers used his own office budget (again, all taxpayer-funded money) to pay off at least one woman, a former staffer who alleges the congressman repeatedly asked for sexual favors. To disburse the hush money, Conyers added her to his books as a “temporary staffer,” paid her the sum of $27,111.15, and then removed her from the payrolls.
A second, and closely related, scandal is the news that Rep. Raul Grijalva (R-Ariz.) used taxpayer funds to silence a staffer who claimed the congressman’s drunkenness contributed to a hostile work environment. Relying on the House Employment Counsel, the House’s legal counsel, Grijalva provided a “severance package” of $48,395. The severance package in question was developed and disbursed outside of the House Ethics Committee’s rules governing severance packages.
So in the span of a month, Americans have learned about three distinct “shushing” methods that members of Congress use to funnel taxpayer dollars to silence and pay off their accusers -- the Office of Compliance with its designated “shush” fund, the individual members own allocations for office funds, and the off-the-books severance packages orchestrated by Congress’s lawyers. And at the center of all of it are the laughably weak Ethics Committees in both the House and the Senate.