Sexual Assault and Harassment in Politics

Nov 30, 2017

Should taxpayer-funded settlements involving sexual harassment allegations against members of Congress be made public? On this politics day edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer is joined by political scientists Rachel Caulfield of Drake University and Tracy Osborn of the University of Iowa.

Osborn says what's happening now is an indication of new attitudes.

"It shows a cultural change," Osborn says.

Osborn grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas when Bill Clinton was governor.  She says that there were widespread stories about him being what she calls a "womanizer." She says that most people were pretty sure those accusations were true, but they brushed them aside. 

"I think the big difference now is there's a lot of people questioning whether that's okay and even going back to Clinton's accusations and saying, 'You know, we should have done something different.' That's a huge cultural change to respect the right of people to come forward and to actually do something about sexual harassment and sexual assault."

Osborn and Caufield also share their thoughts on Republican efforts to craft a tax reform bill, the controversy over control of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the threat of a possible government shutdown.