TLP: Eric Massa and His Need to Keep the Staff Straight
Image: Alexandria Neonakis
You know, this is one of those stories you almost don't want to think about. It has allegations of lame sexual advances by a boss, sure. And a curiously timed $40,000 payment to a congressional aide for his work on the congressman's campaign. One is dirty and the other is hmmmm.
But we're talking about Eric Massa, the former New York congressman who confessed over and over again to all kinds of odd behavior, seemingly fueled by a weird "tickle fight" fetish with boy staffers. Who lived with him. As "bachelors."
The Washington Post has the depressing details:
The day after Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) announced he was resigning amid a sexual harassment scandal, the congressman wrote a $40,000 check from a campaign account to his chief of staff, federal campaign records show.From the looks of what Massa staffers told the Post, Racalto seemed to have the classic "good government job." He was on the congressional payroll as chief of staff and then collected the campaign payment. Staffers told the paper Racalto seemed too busy with his day job to have much time for political work and often was away for medical treatment.
In the records, Massa described the March 4 payment to Joe Racalto as a "campaign management fee."
Racalto said through his attorney Friday that the lump-sum payment was for work on Massa's reelection campaign for 2010. Racalto agreed to defer being paid for 15 months -- until he learned Massa was not going to stay in office, the attorney said.
Under federal law, a congressional staff member's payment for work on a campaign must come from campaign funds, not from the salary received for congressional work.
The payment to Racalto came at a time of great turmoil in Massa's office. Because of his resignation, Massa's reelection campaign was, for all practical purposes, abruptly ending.
At the same time, the House ethics committee and numerous reporters were contacting Racalto, seeking to interview him about allegations that his boss had sexually harassed and groped his young male staff members. Racalto, as The Post reported last week, knew a great deal about several male staffers' repeated complaints concerning Massa's lewd talk and sexual touching.
Later on Friday, Racalto's lawyer, Camilla McKinney, confirmed that her client filed a complaint on March 23 alleging that Massa sexually harassed him while they worked together.
If only Massa had been a Republican, this all might have worked out differently. Isn't that what the C Street house was all about?