This is the first in a series of articles about David Wu, the embattled congressman from Oregon who allegedly sexually assaulted the teenage daughter of a Wu donor.
In 2004 the actress Jeri Ryan and Illinois Senate Candidate Jack Ryan had their divorce and custody records unsealed by a Los Angeles judge. Both Ryans had agreed to have their divorce records unsealed, but drew the line at their custody records, which neither wanted disclosed for the sake of their son, Alex. But as Slate wrote at the time, “[i]n keeping with prior rulings nationwide, the court concluded that the public’s right of access outweighed whatever emotional distress the unsealing might cause” and released them. Jack Ryan, embarrassed by some of the untoward acts he had allegedly committed with his wife, withdrew from the race and a little known state senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, went on to win the U.S. Senate seat against Alan Keyes. (It’s something of an open secret in Illinois politics that Obama’s own David Axelrod was behind it, just as he was behind another divorce record unsealing.) According to Ryan, the race would mark the first time in American politics that custody records were unsealed by a newspaper during a campaign.
Flash forward to April 2011.
Embattled Congressman David Wu is getting divorced from his estranged wife, Michelle Wu. Even though divorce documents indicate the congressman’s rather enthusiastic use of alcohol and prescription pills, the records are sealed by a judge.
The Oregonian, a newspaper in Oregon, filed to have those records unsealed, but Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Tom Ryan rebuffs their efforts, citing “the best interest of the [Wu’s] children.”
Why was David Wu given a pass?
The story here takes a weird turn: In January 2011, campaign staffers quit en masse, citing his nutty behavior. Days before the November 2010 election Wu sent out an email to his staffers that pictured him in a tiger suit.
Wu admitted he was suffering from “undisclosed mental health issues.” It appears likely that Wu was abusing prescription drugs. He admitted to taking painkillers from a donor in October 2010, but says, implausibly, that he didn’t know what they were. And in 2008, he was hospitalized for an adverse reaction to the prescription drugs, Ambien and Valium.
Now he has had a teenage girl accuse him of “unwanted sexual encounter.” That sounds an awful lot like rape, doesn’t it? One wonders why the mainstream media hasn’t called it as such.
It sounds especially like rape after we consider that in 2004 The Oregonian reported Wu tried to rape a girl when he was at Stanford University in the mid-70s, an act he describes as “inexcusable behavior on [his] part.” (One has to wonder, if it was inexcusable on his part why have his constituents and colleagues continued to excuse it?)
Then, as now, Wu insists that his sex acts were “consensual.” Perhaps it was in the first case. (It seems unlikely, but we’ll grant it.) But in the second instance? Wu is 56; the girl in question is 18. How many eighteen-year-olds do you know that willingly have sex with 56-year-olds with a history of mental illness and prescription drug abuses?
Now Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats say that they want an “ethics investigation” — you know, the same ethics investigation that let Maxine Waters, Charlie Rangel, and Jack Murtha off the hook.
And Wu says he won’t resign, preferring to retire in 2012.
Reporters should ask Ms. Pelosi: “Whatever happened to the ‘most ethical’ Congress in history?”
Charles C. Johnson is a contributor to Big Government. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.