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Republican, Oregon (1969-1996)
The Honorable Robert Packwood, champion of abortion rights, friend of women's groups, resigned from the Senate in September 1995. Right after his re-election in 1992, the Washington Post reported that 10 female ex-staffers had sexually harassed them. The Post had the story before the election, but Packwood denied it. Convenient, huh?
For months, the Senate Ethics Committee, which possessed mountains of evidence against Packwood, stonewalled. Finally, Senator Barbara Boxer (Democrat-California) had enough--and demanded that the Committee go forward with charges against Packwood.
The Senate, after two-and-a-half years of twists and turns, with Packwood alienating friend after friend, was shocked when the Ethics Committee recommended the legislative death penalty: that Packwood be expelled, for what Senator Barbara Mikulski called "systematic abuse of women, power and this Senate." Finally, the Senate Ethics Committee had defined sexual misconduct as an abuse of power against women.
Packwood, in a rambling speech before the Senate, glossed over his behavior, and said only that resignation was "the honorable thing" to do. That was September 1995; then the Senate gave him an extension to clear out his office by January 2, 1996.
Packwood said in his defense: "On the women . . . I am accused of kissing women, on occasion perhaps overeagerly kissing women, and that is the charge. Not drugging. Not robbing. Kissing." (Click here for other examples of "Lyin' Through Their Teeth").
Ross Anderson, Seattle Times, on Packwood's 10,000 page diary: "Packwood's diary reveals something deeper than lechery. The man was living a fantasy, where political clout was confused with sex appeal, petty graft with legislative compromise, self-interest with the public interest." "He may not be a bad man, just a sick man."
Packwood is a member of the Congressional Sexual Harassment Caucus.
Sources: Jon Carroll, "Packwood Aftermath: Rampant Cluelessness," San Francisco Chronicle, Sept. 13, 1995, E8; Ross Anderson, "What Packwood Diaries Tell Us About the Senate," Seattle Times, Sept. 13, 1995, B6; Ellen Goodman, "Packwood's Resignation was a Senate Milestone," Boston Globe, Sept. 10, 1995, A7.