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Senator Resigns over Affair with Lobbyist

October 30th, 2017 by Mike Vasilinda

A State Senator has resigned after published reports linked him to an affair gone bad with a registered lobbyist. The affair was consensual, but as Mike Vasilinda tells us, there are now new guidelines for reporting sexual harassment complaints against lawmakers.

State Senator Jeff Clemons abruptly resigned after Politico reported an affair  between Clemons and a lobbyist had went bad at the end of the 2017 session.

As a legislator, Clemons had sway over legislation being pushed by the lobbyist. The resignation came after House Speaker Richard Corcoran released a statement saying  “The facts raise a very real question of sexual harassment,”

Consensual sex at the Capitol is nothing new.

In the 1970’s and 80’s, highly respected Clerk of the House, Alan Morris used to give a lecture to new female hires. He concluded it by saying there was something they didn’t want to hear: “I love you honey, but the session is over.

In the mid 1980’s the House even published a fact book for new employees with a chapter called Romance in the Legislature.

Instances of sexual harassment have been more rare.

“He pulled it out. Threw the ice down and then went like that” Jennings explained to a select committee, describing a former member throwing ice down her shirt and patting it with his hand.

In 1987 the House secretly paid 47 thousand dollars to staffer Kathy Jennings. When the settlement became public three years later, a week long hearing ended in a reprimand for Rep. Fred Lippman. He went on to serve three more terms.

“I said, come on Fred, Don’t mess my hair. He said I don’t want to mess your hair, I want to XXXX you!”

In 1980, Rep. Gene Flinn was reprimanded for a hostile work environment.

“And whereas, the select committee strongly condemns improper sexual advances by the member directed toward the members legislative aid, or any prospective legislative employee” toned the reading clerk before the reprimand was adopted.

Flinn lost his reelection bid.

On the same day Clemons resigned, the Senate published new guidelines for reporting sexual harassment, saying it has zero tolerance. The guidelines removed the legislatures Human resources office as one of four places to file a report.

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