Massa’s $40,000 Ill-Timed Check

The saga of Rep. Eric Massa keeps getting worse for the former lawmaker. The Washington Post reported Friday that Massa wrote a $40,000 check to his chief of staff from his campaign fund the day after he resigned. The move looks fairly questionable considering that Joe Racalto, his top congressional adviser, is alleged to have had previous knowledge about sexual harassment complaints by staffers and tried to handle the accusations internally rather than reporting Massa. (Racalto’s lawyer told the Post the check was for months of work on Massa’s reelection campaign.)

As NEWSWEEK’s Eleanor Clift pointed out this week: “Racalto, a young gay man himself, was apparently clueless about what his legal obligations were as a manager to protect the young people in the office from Massa's alleged offensive advances and sexually charged remarks. His actions were designed to shield his boss, not shed light on the situation.”

This new development is already raising more concerns about how secretive the Hill can be. And whether congressmen can be held accountable for their transgressions.