In an interview on Monday, Etsy admitted that she did not handle the situation well. The Connecticut congresswoman plans to reimburse the U.S. Treasury the $5,000 Baker received in severance.
What I did was not good enough and it didn’t protect [my staff] enough. … I’m hopeful now with this conversation and this coming out that I’ll be able to be much more direct and help other people in Congress understand the risks they are placing their staff at when they don’t think they are.
Rep. Etsy also suggested that she was pressured by the Office of House Employment Council (OHEC) to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), which she argued helped delay Baker’s dismissal.
“Clearly that’s what it’s all set up to do — to protect the member of Congress whose bad behavior caused the problem,” Etsy suggested.
Rep. Etsy added, “It felt wrong to me. … When I’m reading the documents and these drafts, it kept going through my mind, ‘This is not right. This is not what happened.’”
Chris Martin, a National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) spokesman, called for Etsy to resign in a statement on Friday.
Martin said, “Elizabeth Esty orchestrated one of the most disturbing Washington cover-ups in recent memory. There is no place for someone who protects abusers in Congress, and she should resign immediately.”
The Hartford Courant called for Rep. Etsy to resign in an editorial last Friday.
Several congressmen have resigned in the wake of new harassment charges.
Rep. Jon Conyers (D-MI) retired in the wake of allegations by several women who claimed he made unwanted sexual advances towards him.
Conyers has denied any wrongdoing, despite reports that one former staffer was paid a $27,000 settlement for charges of sexual harassment in 2015.
Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) also resigned in December, facing several cases of sexual harassment. In his resignation speech, Franken called some of his accusers liars: “Some of the allegations against me are simply not true. Others I remember very differently.”
Rep. Pat Meehan (R-PA) announced that he will not seek re-election after reports revealed that he used taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment case with a former staffer he called his “soul mate.”
Kain urged the Senate to pass legislation that would better protect Hill staffers, which is similar to the mandatory sexual harassment trainings the House recently established.
“I just want people working on the Hill and going through this to know that it’s real, it’s a problem and nothing about it is okay,” Kain argued.