Elizabeth Esty just bowed to the inevitable

Connecticut Democratic Rep. ...

Posted: Apr 3, 2018 10:14 AM
Updated: Apr 3, 2018 10:14 AM

Connecticut Democratic Rep. Elizabeth Esty is fighting like hell to save her political career. But she may be fighting a losing battle.

At issue are revelations published last week in The Washington Post and Connecticut papers that Esty kept her chief of staff on the payroll for three months after another former aide made allegations of harassment against him. Esty dismissed the man in question -- Tony Baker -- after an internal investigation proved the claims were accurate. Even after that, however, she wrote a reference letter for Baker.

Esty has apologized for her poor judgment. And on Monday, she took two steps clearly aimed at stopping the political bleeding:

  1. She issued a "Dear Colleague" letter in which she asked rhetorically: "How did I not know? How did I not see it? What I do know is that wasn't an isolated incidence on Capitol Hill and that we can and must do better to ensure a safe environment for our employees."
  2. She called on the House Ethics Committee to expedite its investigation into the matter. "Although we worked with the House Employment Counsel to investigate and ultimately dismiss this employee for his outrageous behavior with a former staffer, I believe it is important for the House Ethics Committee to conduct its own inquiry into this matter," wrote Esty.

The message in both of those actions is clear: I want to get to the bottom of this as quickly as possible because I think I will be vindicated by what is found. Sure, I could have done things better (quicker?) but it was a very tough situation and I did what I thought was best at the time. I've got nothing to hide!

These moves come after a very forceful Esty statement in the immediate aftermath of the reports in which she flatly rejected the idea of resigning. "For those who have asked, I want to be clear that I am not resigning," Esty said in the statement to CNN last week. "I have important work to do in Congress including building on the lessons of this horrible series of events."

That statement didn't stop people from calling for her resignation. At first, it was just Republicans. But over the weekend, a series of prominent state Democrats -- including former Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz and state Senate President Martin Looney -- said Esty should resign.

And then there was this on Monday from Mark Davis, the chief political correspondent for local ABC affiliate WTNH: "Sources say Esty calling Democratic Town Committee Chairs in 5th district seeking support and it's not going well."

Esty got something of a respite from all of that bad news on Monday afternoon when House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, stopped short of calling for her resignation. "As Congresswoman Esty has acknowledged, her actions did not protect Ms. (Anna) Kain and should have," said Pelosi. "Congresswoman Esty has now appropriately requested an expedited review by the Ethics Committee."

Conversations with plugged-in operatives in the Nutmeg State, however, suggest that even Pelosi's kind of, sort of endorsement of Esty may not be enough to save her.

"She's not a person that has a lot of people in the state looking to save her from this embarrassment, which makes surviving much harder," said one Democratic consultant who works in the state and was granted anonymity to candidly assess Esty's political future. "I don't know if she makes it but it doesn't feel good and I have no idea why they didn't just fire the guy."

In similar situations in the past, the key in determining whether a member of Congress can weather a scandal is what I'll call the "abandonment factor": Do influencers within your own party call on you to resign or not?

If they do, it's almost always curtains. If the whole thing turns into more of a partisan fight, you usually make it.

Pelosi threw Esty a lifeline on Monday. But it wasn't much of one. And it's not clear whether Pelosi's unwillingness to call on Esty to resign can overcome the clear dissatisfaction toward Esty within some elements of the state party.

At the moment, it doesn't look great for her.

West Lafayette
Partly Cloudy
39° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 35°
Kokomo
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 30°
Rensselaer
Partly Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 37°
Fowler
Partly Cloudy
39° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 35°
Williamsport
Partly Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 37°
Crawfordsville
Partly Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 32°
Frankfort
Partly Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 32°
Delphi
Partly Cloudy
35° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 35°
Monticello
Partly Cloudy
35° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 35°
Logansport
Partly Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 36°
Windy & warm weather will give way to cooler conditions & rainfall...
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1107189

Reported Deaths: 17621
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1446032234
Lake718651243
Allen66280881
Hamilton50567487
St. Joseph49217645
Elkhart39818546
Vanderburgh34458496
Tippecanoe30484274
Johnson27431465
Hendricks26064382
Porter25355386
Madison20880450
Clark20071278
Vigo18905309
LaPorte17019261
Howard16577313
Delaware16575299
Monroe16463220
Kosciusko14118166
Hancock12984185
Bartholomew12813190
Warrick12113190
Wayne11987268
Floyd11939226
Grant11845241
Morgan10324191
Boone9770121
Noble9181122
Henry9093167
Marshall9002147
Dearborn8900100
Dubois8778139
Shelby8178129
Cass8099127
Lawrence7989184
DeKalb7693108
Jackson758393
Huntington7548111
Gibson7045118
Montgomery6986123
Harrison6905100
Knox6884115
Steuben661988
Miami6530111
Whitley651460
Putnam638384
Clinton622177
Wabash6137111
Jasper607392
Jefferson5760104
Ripley553093
Adams537981
Daviess5042117
Scott485780
Wells4787103
White472869
Greene4661100
Clay460562
Decatur4576110
Jennings445767
Fayette442894
LaGrange423190
Posey405444
Randolph3872107
Washington387056
Fountain370464
Fulton361673
Spencer359247
Starke351574
Owen349677
Sullivan346654
Orange326572
Jay323950
Rush304332
Carroll291839
Franklin289544
Perry287153
Vermillion282058
Tipton249465
Parke248530
Pike245544
Blackford219744
Pulaski207559
Newton180652
Brown174250
Crawford168329
Benton165517
Martin152119
Switzerland146812
Warren133916
Union120516
Ohio92113
Unassigned0588

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events