WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As Congress breaks for Thanksgiving, a dark cloud hangs over Washington, with members of both parties facing sexual harassment allegations. While none of those named are from Wisconsin, the allegations are having a ripple effect on those from the Badger State.
Allegations rocked both parties this week, and threatened to overshadow the Republican tax bill that advanced out of the House on Thursday. They've left Alabama's Roy Moore and Minnesota's Al Franken hanging onto their political lives.
Senator Tammy Baldwin
"This is a real moment in America," Senator Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin said.
As sexual harassment allegations unfolded against sitting lawmakers and candidates, Baldwin said she would donate a $20,000 campaign contribution from a group tied to Senator Al Franken, D-Minnesota, who apologized to a woman who accused him of groping and forcibly kissing her. Baldwin said she was glad Franken "took responsibility immediately," though the incidents happened 11 years ago.
"But the behavior isn't acceptable regardless of whether it's a Republican or a Democrat," Baldwin said.
Senator Al Franken
Senator Al Franken
Republicans had trouble of their own. Several women say Moore, the GOP candidate for U.S. Senate in Alabama, sexually harassed or assaulted them.
Speaker Paul Ryan
Speaker Paul Ryan called on Moore to quit the race.
"He should step aside. Number one, these allegations are credible," Ryan said.
Yet Moore is still running.
Also this week, two female members of Congress, one from each party, accused unnamed current congressmen of misconduct, including that one lawmaker had exposed himself to a female staffer.
Speaker Ryan responded by ordering mandatory anti-harassment training for members and staff.
Congress has paid out $17 million over the past 20 years to settle various cases against members. The office in charge of the settlements did not say how many of the cases involved harassment vs. something else, like discrimination.
President Donald Trump attacked Franken on Twitter this week. Asked to justify that, given the fact that several women last year accused the-candidate Trump of sexual misconduct or assault, a White House spokeswoman said "Franken has admitted wrongdoing, and the president hasn't."