Speed Reads

Another one bites the dust?

Capitol Hill is obsessed with guessing who will be exposed for sexual harassment next

There is a persistent, if evolving, rumor on Capitol Hill, Politico reports, which has captured the conversations and stoked the speculation of members of Congress and their staff: More than 20 lawmakers from both major parties will be credibly accused of sexual harassment and other misconduct before the fervor of #MeToo dies down.

So far, five members of Congress — Al Franken (D-Minn.) in the Senate and John Conyers (D-Mich.), Blake Farenthold (R-Texas), Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), and Ruben Kihuen (D-Nev.) in the House — have resigned or announced they will not seek re-election after allegations were leveled against them. That tally means three times as many accusations are yet to come if the rumor is true, a calculation that reportedly has Hill staff grilling their bosses about past misconduct to get ahead of potential exposure stories.

Also raising alarm is the possibility of false accusations, such as the ones that recently surfaced against Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). "Members who have high-profile elections coming up or just are really out front on a particular issue are now feeling like they may be targets," Kristin Nicholson, a long-time Democratic staffer, told Politico. "The idea that [false allegations] could potentially get through and cause some harm before it's discounted is causing some fear."