Tickle Monster

Rep. Eric Massa, a first-term member of the House, told reporters March 3 that, because of health reasons, he would not seek re-election this November. But in just a few hours, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer revealed that his staff learned February 8 of allegations that Massa was being accused of misconduct and had ordered him to report himself to the House ethics committee. It took Politico.com one day to discover that the allegations were that Massa inappropriately touched one or more male staffers. Massa, a Democrat who is married and has two children, took the unusual tact of going on right-wing commentator Glenn Beck’s show this week to acknowledge that he did “grope” a staffer and “tickled him until he couldn’t breathe.” But, said Massa, “it was not a sexual thing.” On Wednesday night this week, however, The Atlantic Monthly broke a story reporting claims by former shipmates of the 20-year Navy vet that Massa had groped them as well. And the House voted overwhelmingly Thursday, March 11, to launch a probe into when Democratic leaders knew about the allegations against Massa.

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