“Once powerful former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert and a man who accused him of child sexual abuse reached a tentative out-of-court settlement Wednesday over Hastert’s refusal to pay $1.8 million in exchange for the man’s silence,” the AP reports.
“The man who has sued former U.S. House speaker Dennis Hastert, seeking the unpaid balance of an alleged $3.5 million hush-money pact over decades-old sexual abuse, will be named publicly during an upcoming civil trial,” the Chicago Tribune reports.
“If I were to fall dead right here, my obituary in tomorrow’s papers wouldn’t be that good.”
— Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D), quoted by the Chicago Tribune.
Politico: “Denizens of the New York State Capitol celebrated on Tuesday afternoon, with longtime foes of the soon to be former governor drinking champagne and pondering a future without Cuomo at the top. There was widespread praise for incoming Gov. Kathy Hochul.”
“Still, transitioning out of the Cuomo era will not be an easy task. Cuomo, after nearly three fiery terms at the helm, has tentacles that stretch into every corner of state government. Cleaning house would be a difficult task for any incoming governor — let alone one who can only promise potential replacements some 15 months of employment. And it’s all but guaranteed that the various investigations into Cuomo will drag on for months or even years.”
ABC News: Cuomo accusers react to governor’s resignation.
New York Times: “The fallout from a damaging report that found Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women widened on Monday when Roberta A. Kaplan, a nationally prominent lawyer with ties to the governor, resigned from Time’s Up, the organization founded by Hollywood women to fight sexual abuse and promote gender equality.”
“Ms. Kaplan, the chairwoman of Time’s Up and the co-founder of its legal defense fund, was one of several prominent figures whom the report found to be involved in an effort to discredit one of Mr. Cuomo’s alleged victims, and she has continuing legal ties to a former Cuomo aide accused of leading that effort.”
“There should be a zero tolerance policy when it comes to sexual harassment and must send a clear message that this behavior is not tolerated.”
— New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), in a tweet from 2013.
New York Times: “The videotaped interview lasted about 11 hours, and Mr. Cuomo faced a barrage of questions under oath about his treatment of women, posed by the two lead investigators hired by the state attorney general’s office: Joon H. Kim, the former prosecutor, and Anne L. Clark, an employment lawyer.”
“There were tense moments: At more than one point during the lengthy session, Mr. Cuomo confronted Mr. Kim, challenging his fairness and independence as a result of his past investigations into the governor and his allies.”
“President Biden on Monday took a subtle yet unmistakable dig at Republicans who have backed away from a major funding component in a bipartisan infrastructure package that is now starting to fray, saying pointedly that ‘we shook hands on it’ even as he continued to promote the agreement,” the Washington Post reports.
“Biden’s comment, with its accusatory undertones, reflected the agreement’s precarious state at the outset of what could be a pivotal week. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) plans to force a vote within days to advance the roughly $1 trillion plan despite the Republican hesitations, a high-stakes gamble that is intended to force agreement but that GOP senators on Monday warned they would reject.”
Former Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA) told Axios she thinks her sex scandal was “politically survivable” and she’s contemplating another run for Congress.
Said Hill: “You really wonder how much of it was the pressure I put on myself because I was a woman, and because I’d been an advocate for the #MeToo movement, and how much of it was sexism and … the public shaming aspect of it, the revenge-porn aspect of it.”
“Just two years ago, nearly every national politician in the Democratic Party was calling for Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia to resign. A racist picture was discovered on Mr. Northam’s medical school yearbook page, and the physician-turned-politician said he did not know which person he was in the photograph — the white man dressed in blackface or the one in Ku Klux Klan regalia,” the New York Times reports.
“A series of twists helped Mr. Northam stay in office, including simultaneous scandals that engulfed his possible successors, a cross-generational coalition of Black activists who decided to defy national politics and stick by him, and a commitment from Mr. Northam’s administration to prioritize racial justice. And he followed through, shocking even his most ardent supporters, with a series of policy accomplishments that focused on racial equity.”
Los Angeles Times: “Katie Hill has faced deep lows since resigning from Congress after nude images of her were disseminated around the globe without her consent. She feared for her physical safety during her divorce; she had suicidal ideation, nightmares, mounting legal debt and anxiety about being recognized.”
“The 33-year-old is now channeling her energy and using her infamy to try to ensure that what happened to her does not happen to others, by making the nonconsensual dissemination of intimate pictures a federal crime.”
“She is thinking about running for office again, though she worries about the toll, including the effect on her mental health and risks to her safety.”
Bridget Anne Kelly, the former aide for then-Gov. Chris Christie who served prison time after becoming enmeshed in the ‘Bridgegate’ scandal, is now the sole Republican candidate for Bergen County Clerk, NJ.com reports.
Kelly famously sent an email in 2013 saying “time for traffic problems in Fort Lee” which triggered lane closures on the George Washington Bridge as political payback to Fort Lee’s mayor.
Disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) told the New York Times that he’s considered selling the photo of his erect penis inside his grey boxer shorts as a nonfungible token or NFT.
The accidentally-tweeted photo marked the beginning of the end of his political career and ultimately landed him in prison.
Said Weiner: “Cashing in would be nice.”
Wall Street Journal: “He and his advisers huddled to discuss how other Democratic leaders had responded to scandals in recent years… Mr. Franken, of Minnesota, resigned in early 2018 but later expressed regret over the decision.”
“Mr. Cuomo and his team also examined the case of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat who declined to resign in 2019 after yearbook pictures allegedly showed him in blackface.”
“The discussions set the stage for the weeks ahead: no matter what other lawmakers said or what else came at them, the governor wouldn’t resign. He would shore up support where it existed and show the public that he was still working.”
“The mere whiff of a scandal once unraveled political careers with stunning speed. Not anymore,” the AP reports.
“Suddenly embroiled in a federal sex trafficking investigation, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida has denied the allegations, rebuffed suggestions that he resign and sent fundraising appeals that portray him as a victim of a ‘smear campaign.'”
“The congressman joins a growing list of politicians from both parties — almost exclusively men — who are defying the traditional response to controversy. Rather than humbly step back from public life, they barrel ahead, insisting they did nothing wrong and betting that voters will forget alleged misdeeds once the news cycle eventually shifts.”
Although Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R) denied having an extramarital affair with Cesaire McPherson, there was audio of a conversation between Merrill and McPherson which proved otherwise.
David Graham: “If these scandals seem to demand an explanation for how a member of Congress, entrusted to hold power in Washington, could behave in such a way, the reality may be the opposite: Only a member of Congress could behave like this and get away with it.”
“Whether Gaetz’s alleged behavior rose to the criminal is yet to be seen, but if true, it would have gotten him fired long ago in any conventional gig. Congress is no normal gig, though. It is, almost by design, a hostile workplace.”
“A person in serious legal jeopardy tends to, per their lawyer’s advice, shut up. Matt Gaetz is handling his current problems a little differently,” Politico reports.
“Trying to deflect from the threat of a federal criminal investigation for potential trafficking of a minor, Gaetz raced to Twitter, Fox News and other outlets seeking maximum exposure — a flood-the-zone approach reminiscent of Donald Trump’s strategy for talking his way through scandal. And so the GOP congressman from Florida, to the bewilderment of legal experts, made himself unavoidable for comment as the threat to his political career began to metastasize.”