A follow-up to this post, wherein I wondered if Democrat Party higher-ups had any inkling of twenty-year Congressman and current San Diego Mayor Bob Filner's history of egregious sexual harassment prior to the recent spate of public accusations. Via The Atlantic and Ace, surprise:
In 2011, at least three women warned the head of the San Diego County Democratic Party of stories in the community about then-Rep. Bob Filner making inappropriate advances toward professional women with whom he'd come in contact through his political position. Former California State Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña, San Diego County Democratic Central Committee member Martha Sullivan, and Escondido City Council member Olga Diaz all brought uncomfortable incidents to the attention of Jess Durfee, who was until the end of 2012 Democratic Party chairman for San Diego, the eighth-largest city in America. What happened next illustrates the enormous challenge the situation presented to local Democrats, who were looking to Filner as their best shot at retaking the mayor's seat in the heavily Republican community for the first time since 1992. It also reveals the party's short-sighted and ultimately self-destructive failure to do due diligence on the accusations, which were presented to the party secondhand and yet failed to trigger any kind of substantive investigation, or even an intra-party conversation with a lawyer...
She brought six women's stories to Durfee in the summer of 2011, she said, though she did not have any direct experience of inappropriate conduct herself. We're all wondering, 'Why didn't the chairman listen to our concerns? "We're all wondering, 'Why didn't the chairman listen to our concerns?'" Saldaña said. "His defense now is that he spoke to Filner privately and Filner assured him no one had filed a formal complaint .... I mean, he wasn't harassing people in his office the way he's accused of now. He was harassing constituents, or professional women who basically needed to maintain a working relationship with him. So of course they weren't going to file a formal complaint against a seated congressman."
The (D) next to his name was his insurance policy. Here's how Filner assessed the situation, according to the city's former Democrat chairman:
"He felt very confident nothing would come up during the campaign," Durfee recalled. "He assured me that would not happen. He emphasized that. He said, 'In all my years in Congress, I've never had a sexual harassment complaint against me.'"
Spoken like a man who'd gotten away with hideous acts of misogyny and abuse for years, who knew party higher-ups wouldn't rock the boat, and who knew the media wouldn't do much digging. It remains unlikely in the extreme that national Democrats weren't fully away of Filner's patterns of behavior, especially in light of Hilary Rosen's passing recollection on CNN last month. Ace puts a finer point on it:
It continues to be unbelievable to me that Nancy Pelosi did not hear all about this years ago. People gossip about being grabbed, kissed, slobbered on, and skeeved on. It's what they do. And Washington, DC, is a very small town, and everyone works for the same damn industry. It's far less diverse a city than even movie-dominated LA. It is simply not believable that the national Democratic Party didn't know this. Almost all of his victims were Democrats themselves, women coming to him with Congressional business, etc. Are we to believe that Democratic women don't tell other Democratic women when a sitting Congressman pats their ass and drools on their face?
Fresh out of "rehab" -- having graduated early, no less! -- Filner is about to get leveled by another Gloria Allred shinola storm. It has, my friends, come to this:
A great-grandmother will hold a news conference with attorney Gloria Allred early Thursday afternoon, alleging she is a sexual harassment victim of Mayor Bob Filner. A news release stated the senior citizen was the "victim of continuous inappropriate sexual advances by the Mayor while trying to do her job at City Hall."
It's utterly disgusting, but great-granny isn't even his most stomach-turning alleged victim to date. Did national Democrats abide this abhorrent 'War on Women' conduct for years to protect a precious House seat?