Rep says she used rolled-up newspaper to fight off colleague’s advances

Greg Nash

Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) said she once fought off another lawmaker’s advances using a rolled-up newspaper.

McCollum told The Star Tribune that she used the paper to stop another member of Congress from giving her an unwanted hug in the House cloakroom.

“ ‘What the hell are you doing? Go away!’ ” the lawmaker recounted saying to the congressman.

{mosads}She said other lawmakers watched and laughed at the pair as she used the newspaper against him.

“I sort of handled it with humor, but it was very clear,” McCollum said. “He never bothered me again.”

The representative said she’s shut down advances from at least two members of Congress since she was elected to her seat in 2001, but that neither of them remain in office.

“There were two members who, I thought, were very inappropriate in the way they were addressing me, [or] thinking that I wanted a hug,” McCollum told the paper.

McCollum’s comments come as more female lawmakers share stories of sexual harassment in Congress. Speaker Paul Ryan announced Wednesday that the House would require mandatory anti-sexual harassment training.

The announcement came just hours after the House Administration Committee held a hearing about sexual harassment in Congress. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) revealed at that hearing that two current lawmakers have been accused of sexual harassment.

McCollum went public with her story one day before radio host Leeann Tweeden accused Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) of kissing and groping her without her consent in 2006, and provided a photo of Franken groping her while she was asleep.

Franken apologized for the incident and called for an ethics investigation into his own behavior.

Tags Al Franken Betty McCollum Betty McCollum Feminism and sexuality Human sexuality Paul Ryan Sex crimes Sexual harassment

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