Staff Columnist

Bad behavior and bad ideas from alleged sexual harassers

Capitol ideas: Remarkable arrogance in the face of serious accusations

Dave Jamison
Dave Jamison

I suppose it should not come as a surprise that men capable of habitually sexually harassing women also display staggering hubris and a serious lack of self-awareness.

Still, my jaw stood agape on multiple occasions last week as I read one incredibly arrogant statement and one ridiculously bad idea coming from men who have been charged with extensive counts of sexual harassment.

Starting here in Iowa, the list of roughly two dozen accusations of sexual harassment against former Iowa Finance Authority Dave Jamison read like dialogue rejected as too sleazy for an adult film.

But what really struck me was Jamison’s alleged comments to his accuser about the possibility of her suing him for his behavior.

“I forgot, Matt Lauer told me not to say that,” Jamison allegedly told the victim of his harassment, referring to the former NBC news anchor who was fired earlier this year in the wake of multiple charges of sexual harassment against him.

“Did you hear? I hired the law firm of Lauer, Weinstein and Franken to represent me,” Jamison allegedly continued, referring to two more individuals — former movie producer Harvey Weinstein and former U.S. Sen. Al Franken — who faced multiple accusations of sexual harassment.

The arrogance that spills from those comments is remarkable. If they are accurate as alleged, they show Jamison knew full well what he was doing was wrong.

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Many men, when faced with similar charges, have claimed they did not realize the severity of their actions at the time.

Jamison’s remarks show complete disregard of the potential to be held accountable for his actions — at a time when so many others are facing the music for the exact same appalling behavior.

On the national stage, a television producer told Page Six that a show is being pitched in which Charlie Rose, the former PBS and CBS news host who was fired from both jobs after facing multiple charges of sexual harassment, would interview other famous men — including Lauer and actor and comedian Louis C.K., who were similarly disgraced by tales of sexual harassment.

If you can consider that idea for longer than five seconds without losing your lunch, you have a stronger constitution than I.

The #MeToo movement has been encouraging in that more and more women feel comfortable sharing their horrible stories in order to hold harassers accountable and change behaviors for the better.

Unfortunately, it would seem some slow learners remain.

Grassley & mueller

Iowa’s senior U.S. senator is running a bill that he knows would be rejected by President Donald Trump and which defies the wishes of many in his party, including its leader in the Senate.

Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, last week held a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee, which he chairs, on legislation that would protect special counsel Robert Mueller from being fired by Trump during Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Grassley acknowledged it would be extremely unlikely Trump would ever sign such a bill, should it reach his desk, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the bill will never make it to the Senate floor for debate or a vote, Politico reported.

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Yet Grassley ran the bill, keeping his word to a bipartisan group of senators — two Republicans and two Democrats — who put together the proposal. The bill passed the committee on a 14-7 vote; Grassley supported it.

Grassley last week also received the seventh-highest score in a numerical ranking system that attempts to display bipartisan work by U.S. senators.

Grassley’s high marks came in the Bipartisan Index created by the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University and the Lugar Center, led by former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar.

In a media statement on the ranking, Grassley touted legislation he has sponsored or co-sponsored with Democrats that deal with prescription drug costs, school safety, fraud awareness for seniors and criminal justice reform.

“I always do my best to work with my colleagues to find areas where we can reach consensus, even when we disagree on other issues,” Grassley said.

Erin Murphy covers Iowa politics and government. His email address is erin.murphy@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter at @ErinDMurphy.

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