Opinion Brief

The Massa mess: Did Nancy Pelosi cover it up?

Republicans say the House speaker knew about the sexual allegations against Eric Massa for months — but failed to act

In a move that could further embarrass Dems, the House voted 402 to 1 to demand an investigation into what Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders knew about the Eric Massa scandal. Republicans say Pelosi knew months ago that male aides had levelled sexual harassment complaints against Massa (who resigned Monday), but did nothing. Is the GOP crying foul to score points with voters, or did Pelosi really cover up?

Pelosi is rapidly losing public trust: Nancy Pelosi knew the score in October, says Mary Kate Cary in U.S. News & World Report, but failed to act. Remember: "This is the woman who promised to 'drain the swamp' when Democrats took over the House" shortly after the GOP was castigated for its slow response to the Mark Foley sex scandal. "So much for that."
"Pelosi's inaction on Massa harassment inexcusable"

Barring surprises, Pelosi's probably fine: This could truly damage Democrats if they "knew more than they let on," back in October, says Benjamin Sarlin in The Daily Beast. But Pelosi says her staff knew only that Eric Massa was sharing a house with several male staffers, and had once lunched alone with a gay aide to Rep. Barney Frank. If so, this should fizzle.
"Massa case puts Pelosi on trial"

The GOP is just stirring up anti-gay voters: Judging by the nearly unanimous House vote, Pelosi and the Dems are confident the GOP cover-up charge will fall flat, says Leslie Savan in The Nation. But this episode is really about Republicans using the sordid Massa tale to whip up "anti-gay hysteria," and drive social conservatives into their ranks.
"Without anti-gay hysteria, Massa's a dud for the GOP"

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PREVIOUS OPINION BRIEFS ON THE TOPIC:
The Eric Massa 'groping' bombshell
Eric Massa vs. the Democrats

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