The Other McCain

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Let Her Speak: Cain Accuser Seeks Release from Confidentiality Agreeement

Posted on | November 2, 2011 | 47 Comments

While I was at the American Spectator gala Tuesday night at the Capital Hilton in D.C., I learned that one of the women who accused Herman Cain of sexual harassment has been interviewed by the Wall Street Journal:

A woman who complained about Herman Cain’s behavior when he was president of the National Restaurant Association wants to be released from a confidentiality restriction so she can respond to his statements on the matter, her lawyer said Tuesday.
Washington lawyer Joel P. Bennett said the woman disagreed with Mr. Cain’s public comments about reports that two female employees of the restaurant trade group had accused him of sexual harassment in the late 1990s. Mr. Cain said this week that he had been “falsely accused” and that the complaints were “baseless.”
“My client disputes Mr. Cain’s claims that he never sexually harassed anyone, and that the claims had no merit,” Mr. Bennett said.
A second person, who had knowledge of the woman’s complaint about Mr. Cain, said it entailed more than one incident “and continued over some period of time.”

And I say, let’s hear the whole story — the sooner, the better — directly from the accuser. No more “sources say.” No more anonymity.

No more vague second-hand descriptions that can neither be wholly believed nor entirely refuted. That the accused is a man very much in the public eye, while the accuser is concealed behind a rampart of anonymity, is grossly unfair both to Cain and to the American people. Until the identity of the accusers is made public, and the full account of their accusations can be heard and evaluated, we have no way of judging the credibility of the charges or severity of the alleged offenses.

I predicted from the outset that the press corps would swiftly identity the accusers, that their names would become public and their stories would be heard. Reporters are now staking out the home of one accuser, who is staying with relatives to avoid media scrutiny.

The path down which this story must now go is not a path any decent person would wish to see a political campaign have to travel. But news organizations which are currently protecting the anonymity of Cain’s accusers are merely delaying the inevitable. They will be named, and every fact of their lives that can be learned by reporters (or by private detectives) will be known, most of it probably within a matter of days. Anyone who thinks otherwise is a damned fool, and those editors and reporters who now refuse to name these women will find themselves scooped by someone. Bloggers, the British tabloid press, the National Enquirer, MSNBC — it makes no difference, somebody is going to put their names out there, and PDQ.

It is absolutely impermissible for a leading candidate for the presidency to be publicly accused of sexual misconduct by anonymous accusers. We have been told that the women themselves did not push this story to the press, and they would have preferred that the matter remain confidential. But now that the accusation is public, how can the accusers remain anonymous?

And to hell with a confidentiality agreement at this point. Anyone who thinks it possible to enforce a confidentiality agreement now, when descriptions of these cases have already become front-page news everywhere, needs to wake up to reality.

If you believe Herman Cain’s denial of these accusations, you should demand nothing less than complete disclosure of the entire story, in confidence that he will be vindicated. Whatever the truth is, no one can pretend that there is anything to be gained for anyone by continued secrecy and anonymity.

Meanwhile: A blogger is reporting that the man who followed Herman Cain as CEO of the National Restaurant Associations is — wait for it — a Mitt Romney donor.

Personally, I’d still bet money it was the Rick Perry campaign that pushed this story to the media. A couple of reporters I was talking to at the Spectator gala last night pointed out that Politico‘s Jonathan Martin obviously has very good sources with the Perry campaign.

But I don’t think we’ll know for sure where this story came from until after the GOP convention next summer, and then only if (a) it was Romney whose campaign pushed the story, and (b) Romney wins the nomination. If it was Perry’s campaign that pushed the story, we’ll only find out the truth if the scandal destroys Cain. Then the liberal media will blame Perry for the “racist” destruction of Cain, so that Perry is destroyed in turn, thus ensuring Romney’s nomination. On the other hand, if Cain survives the scandal and wins the nomination, we’ll never know where the story came from.

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Comments

  • Anonymous

    I’m no lawyer, but I gotta suspect that trying to suspend one part of an agreement would open a rather nasty kettle of fish. I mean, would Cain and other employees of the NRA really be free to say whatever they feel inclined to say without fear of a suit for slander? I’d like to hear some lawyers weigh in on this.

    And where does that phrase “weigh in on” come from, anyweigh?

  • Anonymous

    Your conclusions are probably correct, but the Politco “exposure” and much of the reaction to it are laughable. Anyone who has worked in a mixed environment (mixed between men and women, that is) knows that considerable “inappropriate” dialog and body language occur, ranging from the mildest sort of flirtation to covert (and not so covert) invitations to sexual congress.

    Most of the “inappropiate” behavior is meant unseriously, and is taken as such. There are, of course, misunderstandings where incidents are taken more seriously than meant, but if all of these became formal complaints business would come to a standstill. And it certainly isn’t men alone who are the initiators. Back when I was young and lovely I had several approaches made to me by women,  although in the earlier cases I was so naive I wasn’t aware of what was happening. I’ve seen the same thing occur with my son who, for some reason beyond my understanding, almost needs to carry a stick to beat them off.

    Of the two Cain cases, one seems so innocuous as to defy credulity. But even when the time comes that more is known, I’m not going to get excited unless something Clintonesque, Kennedyesque or Edwardsesque is proved. Anything less will fall into the category of ordinary interaction between the sexes.

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  • Anonymous

    I’m no lawyer, either, but I’d say all bets are off .

    Whether explicitly or implicitly, the whole point of the settlement agreement was that the matter was not to be publicly discussed.

    The women held up their end of the bargain, but now it has been publicly discussed anyway — with one of the parties telling the story entirely from his side.

    And it will be a matter of no more than days  (actually, my guess is today, if it hasn’t happened already — I’m visiting ToM before I’m visiting the news sites) before the women’s names get publicly linked to the whole thing.

    They’re going to talk, sooner or later. It will hurt both the Cain campaign and the NRA less to just let that happen sooner thatn it will to whine about it and try to delay. Regardless of what they have to say, the whole thing is at the point of “do we lance this boil, or just keep rubbing it and moaning about how painful it is?”

    As for the source, “cui bono” says it was neither Romney nor Perry.

    Perry is dialing back expectations in Iowa and aiming further down the road. For him, the worse Cain hurts Romney the better.

    Romney’s running neck and neck with Cain in Iowa and as a long-time known quantity really doesn’t have any way of capitalizing on something like this over the longer term. The only way for this to help him much would be for it to have come out a few days before the caucus so that it would screw Cain without time for his supporters to coalesce around someone else. If it has anything to do with Romney, it was a wildcat act by one of his supporters, not a campaign-sanctioned operation.

    The ones the timing of this helps most — or at least could help most — are Bachmann and Paul. They’re behind, they’re natural places for Cain supporters to go if he craters, but they need time to capitalize before the caucus.

    I’m not a Paul fan, but it doesn’t strike me as his style.

    It’s very much Bachmann’s style, though, and at least one DC lobbying group that seems to be in the tank for her was Johnny on the Spot with a demand for details from Cain as soon as the story came out.

    The one that the timing hurts least is Cain. It was going to come out some time in the next 12 months, and this was the least harmful time for it to come out, so we shouldn’t entirely discount the possibility that they leaked it themselves.

  • Anonymous

    One additional question….is an Agreeement even more binding than an Agreement? Or is it what people come to when the charges are Raaaaacist?

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  • Dave

    Cain:  ”Give me my money back and you can talk all you want.”

    Hell there are certain tabloids that might pay up for her.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe the women held up their end.  Did they talk to Politico?

    Either way, getting it over with now seems best, otherwise we just get more speculating.  If this is a legitimate, big issue, let’s find out now.  If it isn’t, let’s hurry up and get on with the rest of the campaign.

  • Anonymous

    I think this would be a bad idea for Team Cain.  It is all downside for them.

    However, if their houses are already getting staked out…..that is pretty bad (meaning that somebody gave up some info). 

    Maybe Politico could go on ahead and print the accusers side of the story….and leave it at that.

  • Anonymous

    scarymatt,

    If the women talked to Politico, they apparently did so off the record, as Politico didn’t name them, quote them, or offer accounts of the affair that could only have originated with them.

  • Finrod Felagund

    From Jeffrey Lord’s American Spectator column: Ken Vogel, who is one of the people in the byline for the original Politico story is a former Soros employee, at the “Center for Public Integrity [sic]“.

    This whole story stinks to high heaven.

  • Info

    Why does the name Jack Ryan keep coming to mind?

    To extend the Ryan metaphor, yes these accusations  must be faced in full NOW before we end up with Keyes as our nominee. 

    Why do I have the ugly feeling in the pit of my stomach that the allegations will be revealed in full, but the names of the accusers will be embargoed, Jornolist-style, and any efforts to confr0nt them will become the story instead of the vagueness and subjectivity of the actual accusations?

    Thank God for  the alternative media now.  With the MFM domination of twenty years ago, we might have Huntsman as our front-runner right now. 

     

  • Anonymous

    Agreed, but how does telling something to a reporter square with not discussing publicly?  Perhaps it’s all kosher legally, but it sure violates the spirit if not the letter. I’ll emphasize that this is assuming they did talk, which we definitely do not know.

    The use of anonymous sources is out of control in general.  I really like how James Taranto makes fun of stories with anonymous sources.  In this case, it seems the sources were accurate, at least.

  • http://twitter.com/ThatChristyChic Christy Waters

    What about Santorum? Could he potentially be the culprit behind the release of this story? After all, he likes to position himself as “Mr. Morals”, and his campaign took the position yesterday that Herman Cain needed to be more forthcoming with the facts (link below).

    I’m still thinking Perry, but just wanted to throw the possibility out there as per your theory.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/santorum-strategist-urges-cain-to-come-clean-on-harassment-allegations/2011/11/01/gIQAyaUWcM_blog.html

  • Guestgal

    I am so disappointed in both the Cain and Perry campaigns.   

    How is it possible that the Cain campaign did not prepare for something like this??  It is completely out of control now, and will bring down the campaign.

    I “switched” to Cain from Perry due to the gross incompetence of the Perry campaign (I am a Texan and Perry has been a decent governor, I think), but the Cain campaign seems infested with the same (or worse) arrogant cluelessness.

    Newt has the past from tabloid hell, and, although he can be an inspired speaker, he also has the strangest Tourette-like tendency to say the most self-destructive things when challenged.   So I do not hold out much hope for a brilliant deflection from him when (NOT if) smeared on the front pages of the WaPo.

    Romney is. . . well, Romney.

    The best (the Paul Ryans of the world – lord, there must be more than one!) do seem to lack the conviction of their ideas – at least lack the conviction to run for an office that has the power to implement some of them.  While the worst – at least in terms of savvy – are, in fact, full of passionate intensity. 

    Yes, yes, we have some national political neophytes, but, really, is it that hard for a reasonably aware person to know that any public person with any kind of conservative agenda is going to be absolutely savaged by the propaganda complex?  Really???  

    I read the WSJ, Hot Air, Ace and this blog and I know that.   Takes about 45 minutes every day or two.   Is it too much to ask our candidates’ campaigns to do the same??  In the old days, CEO’s had clipping services – seems even easier today to get information.  So no passes for these campaigns.

    Against the most radical (and horribly failed!) President of recent history this is the only opposition we can muster?

    I think we deserve better.

    God save us.

  • Info

    And, at the risk of going OT, let’s not get so wrapped up in the presidential race that we forget we could reallllllly use a net +13 election in the Senate next year. 

  • Info

    So, how’s the Axelrod dental plan…

  • DaveO

    We’re looking at GOP campaigns as culprits, but there’s one group that has the means, the motive, and the opportunity: the trial lawyers. 

    Lawyers keep records, and know the contents of sealed cases. Digging up dirt is a specialty of lawyers – every skeleton in every candidate’s closet is protected by an attorney. This provides the means.

    Trial lawyers provide a lot of cash and time to support candidates who will not infringe on their business. Cain’s reputation as a turn-around engineer (who would work to implement deregulation and better law), and Perry’s taking credit for the law in Texas that infringes on trial lawyer extreme paydays  provide motive.

    If Bennett is billing by the minute, then each interview, motion, document is billable and makes him some serious cash. Not to worry if his client runs out of money, some Progressive with an endless bank account will fund the effort.

    Had Cain not run for POTUS, no one would have gone looking for dirt and set up Cain to have to comment on the matter, which he was forced to do unless he wanted to look guilty. This campaign was the opportunity and the predators are pouncing.

  • Joe

    It is coming out now.  Too many are talking to too many. 

    I think Brian Williams suggested Cain should voluntarily release the records.  I am not sure he alone can, but a good comeback to that is fine:  “I will, have President Obama release his college transcripts and applications…”

  • Anonymous

    Jonathan Martin/Politico wrote the hit piece on Perry a few weeks ago – “Is Rick Perry DUMB?”.   And he lied about Sarah Palin last year, saying she had “wreaked havoc” on the campaign trail, stood up Mark Levin, etc etc etc .   No apologies  – no retraction.

    I find it hard to believe he’d be chummy with Perry’s camp.

    This mission to destroy Herman Cain smells like Romney to me.

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  • Anonymous

    No, it isn’t up to Cain, the NRA is in control.

    Since one lawyer indicated that the NRA leaked the story (maybe the Romney supporter) they are open to a ton of liability.

    I think they should let the settlement out and no more. Because ultimately, you end up with a huge he said/she said, more than a decade after the fact, there is no “truth” in that and certainly isn’t good politics.

  • Anonymous

    Still convinced this is Rick Perry…Mitt has nothing to gain…he’ll still be in the final 2….there is basically “the race to face Mitt” at this point, and guess who Cain took that spot from in the first place

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  • Anonymous

    Any thing that allows the womym to take the embellished story public that they were unwilling to take all the way to court allows what they believed they couldn’t prove in court to be proven in the court of public opinion. Given the extremely low bar the law sets in terms of proof and what is “sexual harassment” the fact that they weren’t willing to take their chances in court is very significant to my mind. What ever the two plaintiffs say happened will become the “truth” in the media.

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  • http://www.redstateeclectic.typepad.com AngelaTC

    I said it in another thread – I think it’s a Rove / Gingrich ploy. 

       I wonder if the SC voters will get calls asking if they’d be less likely to vote for Cain if they knew he had fathered a black baby? 

  • http://www.redstateeclectic.typepad.com AngelaTC

    But my understanding is that this wasn’t reported based on just an anonymous source.  They had copies of the documents.    At that point it is a legitimate story.

  • http://www.redstateeclectic.typepad.com AngelaTC

    So….who are you picking in the LSU  / Alabama game? I’d like to know where not to put my money.

  • Info

    Since one typically “weighs in” on one side of an issue or another, I would imagine it comes from the old balance scales.  (put ‘balance scale’ in google images if you don’t know what I mean)

  • Anonymous

    The anonymous accusers and their attorney(s) suggesting that, if only they could be released from the confidentiality agreement, the things they would say about Cain . . .

    Reminds me of bullies on the schoolyard who would pretend that they wanted to fight to you when a teacher was within eye/earshot. “Don’t hold me back . . . don’t hold me back!”

  • Anonymous

    We deserve better of what, exactly? Better preemptive PR planning? Candidates who’ve held important, high-profile positions yet were never previously victims of shake downs or bogus accusations? Or, better yet, perhaps we can just run automatons, since robots don’t have personal histories and they’re highly competent – well, at least they’re as competent as their programmers were. 
     
    Or, we could realize that, when it comes to GOP/conservative candidates, traditional PR management might be useless in 21st century politics. If SCOAMF had been a Republican, he would have been destroyed about 9,000 different times. Meanwhile, what makes you think that the “propaganda complex” doesn’t already have several pseudo-scandals lined up for the supposedly competent Romney campaign, in the event he captures the GOP nomination?
     
    Here’s the constant variable: the propaganda complex will try to damage any candidate who threatens SCOAMF. To what extent will voters internalize these “narratives”? Perhaps the best response is to turn the original story (MSM propaganda campaign) into an absurd joke, itself. You fight the narrative with VIVID facts and imagery that make the object (in this case, Cain) seem more heroic and his accusers seem petty, dishonest, etc.
     
    Basically, reverse character assassination, attacking the messenger, etc., but being careful not to have the candidate or his team presenting these counter-attacks, so they don’t come across as defensive, mean-spirited, etc.

  • http://www.leftbankofthecharles.com Charles

    I’d say that if the agreement is between the women and the National Restaurant Association, it’s not really Herman Cain’s beef if confidentiality is broken. He’s already broken confidentiality himself in describing the complaints and baseless and false.

    It’s also hard to see how the National Restaurant Association can enforce a confidentiality clause with what is alreasdy in the public domain, especially if officials there prove to be the source. But the good lawyer wants the agreement waived so there is no threat of havng to pay the separate agreement money back.

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  • Anonymous

    Iggggg-zackly.

  • Anonymous

    Well, it’s been a while since we’ve been regaled with tales of “Long Dong Silver” and pubic hair on Coke cans.

    I wonder if NOW is going to prep the witness.

  • Guestgal

    I do not know how much of this is internalized by voters, and I am sure that there are pseudo-scandals lined up for ANYONE seen as a possible threat.

    What you have proposed – to fight with a counter-narrative seems the only way.  I would love to see any strategists on our side who could do that – to break through with, as you say, VIVID facts and imagery.

    And it would seem that Cain, with his  happy warrior personality, would be the perfect candidate for that.

    It would be nice to see a strategist on our side who could figure out a way to do what you have proposed.   

    Maybe that is not possible in today’s propaganda wars being waged against conservatives.

    I hope it is. 

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  • Anonymous

    You want a great campaigner?  I give you Barack Obama.

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