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    Cain, the saga continues, and $35k is no biggie (Updates added)

    Cain, the saga continues, and $35k is no biggie (Updates added)

    Barring something truly earthshaking warranting a separate post, I’ll be updating the Herman Cain story today in this post.

    The NY Times reports that one of Cain’s accusers received a year’s severance, $35,000, but that there were issues in addition to Cain that made her uncomfortable working at the National Restaurant Association:

    Four people with contemporaneous knowledge of the encounter said it had taken place in the context of a work outing during which there had been heavy drinking — a hallmark, they said, of outings with an organization that represents the hospitality industry. They spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid being publicly drawn into the dispute, and declined to provide details of the encounter, saying they did not want to violate the privacy of the woman.

    Two of them said that other factors had been involved in her severance, and that other workplace issues had been making her unhappy at the association as well. But they said the encounter with Mr. Cain had added an emotional charge and contributed to the size of her payment. One former colleague familiar with the details said such a severance was not common, especially for an employee with the woman’s relatively short tenure and her pay grade

    Some people are acting like a $35,000 severance payment is a big deal.  Trust me, it’s not.  It’s less than the cost of defense of a case, and it avoids distractions and publicity which even a weak or false claim can bring.  Some large companies will fight these claims even if the cost of defense exceeds a possible settlement, because the company wants to send a message to the workforce that you can’t just make a claim and get a check.  But most smaller companies, and certainly a trade organization which needs good publicity, will settle quickly and quietly.  I read nothing incriminating into a $35,000 severance agreement with an employee who also had other gripes with the company in addition to the as-yet unspecified issue with Herman Cain.

    One of the accusers, not clear if it’s the woman referenced in The Times article, also wants to go public.  I agree with Robert Stacy McCain, get it all out there.

    The way Politico dribbled out the story, admittedly holding back facts and sources, was meant to keep the issue alive and keep Cain in the headlines as long as possible.  In fact, I’ll go one step further and say that Politico structured the story in such a way that the accusers would be outed and come forward, with Politico receiving the glory for the scoop but not the blame for causing the women to breach their confidentiality agreements.

    Updates:  Let’s hope this is not true, Oklahoma Consultant Claims He Witnessed Cain Harassment (h/t @CharlieSykes):

    Oklahoma political consultant Chris Wilson says if the woman behind the reported  sexual harassment complaint against GOP Presidential hopeful Herman Cain is  allowed to speak publicly, it’ll be the end of Cain’s run for the White House.


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    WaPo reports now that one of the women is not so keen on release from non-disclosure. Seems she is a federal employee whose husband is a Republican and a registered lobbyist!

    This is no surprise. Anyone who once worked at one DC-based trade group is highly likely to be enmeshed in the political-media-lobbying-legal permanent Washington establishment.

    One has to symparhize that Ms. X and her hubby may not want to endanger their careers by going down a road that could lead them to trouble.

    On the other hand, how hard could it be for Ms. X’s Republican lobbyist husband to have shared her story with someone who passed it along to Politico?

    DDsModernLife | November 2, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    By coincidence, a small business owner who was the target of a pair of sexual harassment lawsuits called the Mark Levin show last night. That caller specifically mentioned $35k as being the average cost to “open the briefcase,” i.e., just to begin any legal defense. His company (like most?) was insured against his sort of thing and the insurance company suggested offering the $35k figure as the preferred alternative to fighting the allegations.

    Audio is here, starting at the 55:00 mark:

    A point that seems to be getting lost here is that even being GUILTY of “sexual harassment” is not necessarily a sign of moral turpitude. Thanks to aggressive lawyers and PC-minded bureaucrats, the workplace is now supposed to completely free of the kind of casual sexual banter that people freely entertain outside the workplace context. So, if you’re in a supervisory position and the filter between your brain and your mouth happens to go on the blink for just a moment, in the presence of a litigious, dissatisifed underling, you could well find yourself on the receiving end of a sexual harassment complaint.

    As a hypothetical example, Cain COULD have passed by this women’s office and said something like, “Damn, you really look good in tight clothes,” then kept walking to his own office, not giving the woman a second thought. Without question, the woman and her lawyer could have made out a sexual harassment claim out of that. And it’s undoubtedly “inappropriate” according to the now-prevalent standard that HR directors have adopted for the American workplace (in large part BECAUSE of the specter of litigation). So Cain would have been guilty of “sexual harassment” in this hypothetical. But I would contend that he hasn’t done anything morally wrong. It isn’t a bad thing to appreciate that the woman looks good in tight clothing. SAYING so is, at worst, a minor, probably unthinking breach of decorum. And, objectively speaking, it’s hardly something that the woman should find cripplingly insulting. Needless to say, it doesn’t involve touching or any physical imposition, nor any demands, quid pro quos, or threats (again, in my hypothetical). Yet, it’s more than enough for him to be tagged with the crime “sexual harassment.”

    In this case, we don’t even know that Cain even said that much. We are given to understand he said (or gestured) something that a women CLAIMED made her uncomfortable. As I said above, there could be a lot more to this, but in many, many cases, even committing “sexual harassment,” as that term is used in the modern American legal parlance, shouldn’t be enough to disqualify someone from the presidency if they are otherwise of decent character.

    Cowboy Curtis | November 2, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    To kick the equine corpse once more:

    Just because the media reports a lot of BS stories about republicans does not mean every story about republicans is BS.

    I doubt Cain did anything wrong. But I don’t know the man, and neither do you. And while I’m inclined think he’s innocent, I wouldn’t put any money on it. Why? Because I don’t know the man, and neither do you!

    None of us knows what happened, at least not yet. Lets not go sticking our neck out for the guy until we have some more information. This sort of stuff can usually be discounted in presidential races because the candidate has a long political career and his past has been sifted through ad nausium by political opponents. Cain has no such career, so we have no ideas what skeletons might be in his closet.

    If the story is BS, it won’t hurt him, and will more than likely help him. If its true, then thank God its coming out now and not after he’s won a bunch of primaries. Lets all just take a deep breath, relax, and see what facts develop.

    I’m so sick of hearing about how the big bad media is so much tougher on Republican candidates than they ever were on Clinton, Jackson, Edwards, etc. Who cares? Its irrelevant in campaign season. As Mr. Rumsfeld said (well, close), you go to war with the media you’ve got, not the media you want. The rules are unfair- boo hoo, get over it. Its the field we currently have to play on. Sure it sucks, but it is what it is. So lets see how Mr. Cain does, and if he can hold up with these referees. I don’t think he can, not because he’s guilty, but because he’s learning Political 101 on the fly in a doctorate level game. And as the campaign progresses, things are only going to get tougher. Much tougher.

    Forget this personal loyalty crap. Be it to Palin, Cain, Perry, or whoever. These are politicians. We are trying to win an election, not anoint a savior, not elect a best friend. You look over the field, pick the horse you think is most likely to win, and move on from there. Policy positions are great, but you know what? Policy doesn’t mean a thing unless you win. A well principled loss is no more valuable than an unprincipled one. I hate to sound so mercenary, but dang it, the future of our country is at stake this time around.

    But that’s just me.

    (For the record, I like Perry, but I’m not saying this because I think it helps Rick- a few solid debate performances are all that’s going to get his ship righted.)

    […] accounts of anonymous “people with contemporaneous knowledge.” However, we can consult Cornell University Law Professor William Jacobson:Some people are acting like a $35,000 severance payment is a big deal.  Trust me, it’s not.  […]

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