WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- The ‘MeToo’ movement brought to light a wave of sexual misconduct and harassment allegations. But those shake-ups seem far from over. Washington Correspondent Alana Austin reports on the ripple effects on Capitol Hill, and around the nation.
Georgetown Law Professor Jamillah Bowman Williams studying the 'MeToo' movement and implications for public officials (Source: GrayDC)
“Sexual misconduct isn’t anything new. It’s the level of accountability that’s unprecedented,” said Georgetown Law Professor Jamillah Bowman Williams.
When the ‘MeToo’ movement first went viral, a wave of alleged sexual assault and harassment survivors began speaking out against prominent politicians. High-ranking officials like Al Franken, John Conyers and Blake Farenthold all stepped aside. The cultural shift prompted Georgetown Law professor Jamillah Bowman Williams to study the ripple effects in the political world.
“Never have we seen this many government officials who are being fired and who are resigning and retiring in the middle of their terms,” explained Williams.
Since the 2016 elections, Williams identified 138 elected and appointed officials who faced accusations. She says the vast majority of those leaders lost their positions – or faced lawsuits and criminal investigations – after MeToo took off in October 2017.
Last year, outrage spread over the revelation that lawmakers could use taxpayer funds for settlements to alleged victims. Congress changed that so lawmakers are now on their own for any such payments.
“It’s a big step forward,” said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), who championed the bipartisan bill.
“If you’re the perpetrator of that yourself, as a member of Congress, the liability is going to be on you.”
Georgetown Professor Williams says the next stage of her research will focus on how the ‘MeToo’ movement is impacting state laws.
Copyright 2019 Gray DC. All rights reserved.