Commentary

NC media strangely silent on sexual harassment scandal involving NC congressman’s aide

Congressman Mark Meadows

Congressman Mark Meadows

As was noted in this Steve Harrison post the other day over at Blue NC, it’s rather strange that the the North Carolina news media seem not to have taken any interest in the troubling developments that have come to light surrounding Kenny West, the former chief of staff for Congressman Mark Meadows.

This is from a Huffington Post story from this Monday:

“A Republican congressman leading the fight to defund Planned Parenthood paid his chief of staff for nearly six months after at least three female staffers complained that the top aide was sexually harassing subordinates, according to four sources close to the situation.

The women told North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows about chief of staff Kenny West’s behavior in March, sources said. At first, Meadows barred West from his D.C. office, but reassigned him to the district office and continued paying him. Meadows eventually sent West off with a sizable severance.

Any compensation that came after West was no longer working in his role as chief of staff may have violated House ethics rules. The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, following a Politico report of the severance payment, asked the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate the severance payment for possible referral to the House Ethics Committee.

West officially departed Meadows’ office on May 21, but was paid his full rate of $38,750 for the period covering April 1 through June 30, and then received further pay taking him through Aug. 15. The House Ethics Manual says, ‘Compensation may be received only for duties performed within the preceding month.’ Ethics rules state that members of Congress ‘may not retain an employee who does not perform duties for the offices of the employing authority commensurate with the compensation he receives.’”

It’s hard to know what’s the weirdest or most disturbing part of this story — the fact that Meadows paid the man so much money, that he reassigned him in a manner reminiscent of the approach long taken by the Catholic church toward pedophile priests, or that West ran against Meadows in the 2012 Republican primary claiming that Meadows was unfit for office due to a character issue. Whichever the case, it sure would seem that there’s enough smoke there to prompt the mainstream news media — especially in western North Carolina — to do a little more digging.

One Comment


  1. Steve Harrison

    October 8, 2015 at 11:28 am

    I would hope our regional state news media outlets are at least doing some digging on this, but I suspect they’re waiting for WaPo or the NY Times to do their work for them, or at least “validate” the story before getting involved. Regardless of how many scoops they’ve had or in-depth solid reporting they’ve done, the Huffington Post is still viewed by many journalists as merely a blog, and not to be relied upon.

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