Yesterday, the list of women coming forward about experiences of sexual harassment and/or assault continued to grow. With this growing number of allegations, what can be done about this epidemic that infects all aspects of our society? First, leadership in organizations need to make clear a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment and assault. Additionally, workplace standards and processes for dealing with sexual harassment complaints needs to be streamlined, made simpler, and strengthened so that women in all workplaces are not faced with inadequate support or years-long timelines. Just this week, several members of Congress took an important first step by introducing legislation in both the House and the Senate that would “reform the sexual harassment complaint process” and “require members and staff to go through mandatory sexual harassment training.”
Meanwhile, new reports seem to come out every hour about a new allegation. Senator Al Franken was accused by a radio host of groping her without her consent, which left her feeling “disgusted and violated.” Franken released a statement agreeing to cooperate with an ethics investigation and expressing remorse for his actions; the radio host accepted his apology. Eight women have now accused former President George H.W. Bush of groping them, including a sixteen-year-old. Sylvester Stallone was accused of sexually assaulting a sixteen-year-old with his bodyguard in the 1980s. And women from both Clinton and Sanders’ campaigns spoke out this morning about sexual harassment while working on the campaigns.
The backlash also continues to grow around Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who has been accused by nine women of sexual harassment and assault. While the Alabama Republican party has decided to continue supporting the candidate, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and many other national Republicans have called for him to step aside. Yet, the leader of the entire Republican Party, President Trump, has refused to unequivocally retract his endorsement of Moore, and remains silent on the issue – even while tweeting about the new Franken allegations. He has a clear responsibility as his party’s head to speak out and call for Moore to step aside; but, as someone who faces his own allegations, this seems unlikely.
ACTION OF THE DAY
#TrumpTaxScam. Yesterday, the congressional GOP’s tax bills continued moving forward, with the House passing their version of the bill and the Senate Finance Committee passing their bill out of committee. This means that a Senate floor vote could happen right after Thanksgiving, so we need to keep the pressure on senators to reject this legislation that would give huge tax cuts to the top 1 percent on the backs of middle class families. Use our easy toolkit to call your senators today! Then, share the graphic below.
Packing the Courts. The Federalist Society, a conservative legal group who has massive influence in D.C., has released a memo proposing “a massive court-packing plan that would enable President Donald Trump to fill the judiciary with hundreds of new judges.” The memo explicitly states that the goal of this move would be to “undoing the judicial legacy of President Barack Obama.” It includes ideas to increase the total number of federal appellate court judgeships—by nearly three times. Given the Federalist Society’s stature and influence, it is likely these recommendations will make their way to the President’s desk. And Trump has already taken moves to undermine the judiciary, by nominating U.S. attorneys who are 90 percent men to choosing people that threaten some of the most fundamental values of our country. Additionally, there are grave concerns that many nominees are unqualified and are hiding their discriminatory background. Moreover, Senator Grassley has ended a longstanding Senate rule that was one of the only major obstacles to stopping Trump’s takeover of the courts. Learn more here.
If You Build It, It Will Spill. News broke yesterday that over 200,000 gallons of oil has spilled from the Keystone pipeline in South Dakota. The oil is thought to have affected mainly agricultural lands in South Dakota. This giant spill comes just days before Nebraska’s Public Service Commission will issue a decision over granting a permit for the Keystone’s new addition, Keystone XL. President Obama stopped the construction of this during his time in office, but Trump approved the addition through executive order earlier this year. That decision was criticized by Center for American Progress’s, Christy Goldfuss, who wrote, “By approving the Keystone XL pipeline, President Donald Trump once again offered another hollow promise and prioritized corporate profits and foreign interests at the expense of the environment and public interest.” The latest leak shows, “Trump’s issuance of a permit for Keystone XL is a farce that will only lead to more pollution for people and wildlife,” according to the Center for Biological Diversity.
More Secrecy. Jared Kushner, advisor and son-in-law to Donald Trump, reportedly failed to disclose emails pertaining to WikiLeaks and its support of Trump’s campaign in 2016. This comes just days after it was reported that Donald Trump Jr. communicated directly with WikiLeaks, prompting him to release screenshots of his email correspondences with them. Some are saying that these conversations, whether intentionally or forgetfully excluded from disclosure to the Senate Judiciary Committee, displays a clear campaign finance violation, as they may have provided information “of value” to the campaign.
UNDER THE RADAR
Ad Disclosure. This week, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) announced that it would begin a rule-making process to provide voters with crucial information about the purchasers of online political ads. This comes after more than 15,000 people submitted comments urging the FEC to take action, and the reports that Russian bots posted thousands of times on both Twitter and Facebook, reaching millions of people. Learn more about what such FEC rules could mean by checking out this video by the Center for American Progress.