The circumstances surrounding the last time the Senate threatened to expel a member bear a striking resemblance to the potential expulsion facing Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, who, like former Oregon Republican Sen. Bob Packwood, was outed for sexual misconduct in a Washington Post report.
Packwood resigned in 1995 after the Senate voted unanimously in favor of his expulsion due to sexual harassment allegations. Multiple female coworkers accused him of making aggressive sexual advances toward them, which in some cases included forcibly kissing and disrobing the women.
The numerous allegations brought forth in the WaPo report, in addition to damning diary entries that Packwood wrote himself, heavily implicated the conservative lawmaker.
“She made this big stink about it,” Packwood wrote of one accuser. “I have one question—if she didn’t want me to feather her nest, why did she come into the Xerox room? Sure, she used that old excuse that she had to make copies of the Brady Bill, but if you believe that, I have a room full of radical feminists you can boff.”
The diary was turned over to the Senate Ethics Committee at which point congressional investigators discovered certain entries had been removed. Packwood defended his actions, pointing out that, according to his interpretation of events, he had merely been accused of “kissing” women.
“I am accused of kissing women,” Packwood wrote, “on occasion of perhaps overeagerly kissing women, and that is the charge—not drugging, not robbing, kissing.”
Unlike those levied against Packwood, the allegations against Moore center around his pursuit of teen girls.
Four women came forward to accuse Moore of pursuing a relationship with them when they were in their teens and he was more than ten years their elder, The Washington Post reported Thursday. One of the accusers said Moore disrobed and groped her when she was 14 and he was 32, the only encounter that would violate Alabama consent law as the remaining accusers were over the legally required age of 16.
A fifth woman, Beverly Young Nelson, brought new allegations against Moore on Monday during a televised press conference attended by high-profile defense attorney Gloria Allred. Nelson alleges Moore assaulted her in his car after offering to give her a ride home from her shift at a diner soon after her 16th birthday. Now in her 50s, Nelson gave a tearful recollection of how Moore kissed and groped her before trying to force her head down to his crotch.
GOP leadership and the White House initially hedged their respective responses to the allegations, asserting that Moore should remove himself from contention only if the allegations are true. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reversed himself Monday, telling reporters he believed the women and Moore should “step aside.”
Moore has vigorously denied the allegations and said he will remain in the race. Regardless of Moore’s decision, his name will remain on the ballot as they have already been printed. Republican leadership is reportedly considering organizing a write-in campaign, and many have said they will vote to expel Moore should he be elected.
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