WASHINGTON ― The atmosphere is tense on Capitol Hill, as members of Congress and their staff anxiously await more sexual harassment revelations in their ranks.
People are “freaking out,” one Democratic Hill staffer said.
HuffPost spoke to more than a dozen members and aides, all of whom said there are rumors flying about when the next bombshell is coming.
With the expectation that there will be more scandals, Democratic and Republican leaders in the House have expanded the pool of members designated to serve on subcommittees that investigate ethics issues from 20 to 30 members, according to The Wall Street Journal.
In recent days, the House Ethics Committee has opened investigations into Reps. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas), Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) and Ruben Kihuen (D-Nev.).
Members and aides on the Hill also anticipate publication of a story in a national news outlet that details which members’ offices have settled cases of sexual harassment using taxpayer dollars. Such a report could lead to a number of retirements or resignations, with numbers as high as 20 members swirling.
Whether or not the story drops or the resignations happen, it’s clear that the reports against members like Farenthold, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) and others have put the Capitol on edge. Aides are passing around names of who may be next and sharing stories about harassment they’ve experienced but may not have revealed in the past.