A sexual harassment allegation is something that can seriously damage one’s career, especially if that individual is serving in an office of public trust, such as the governor of a state. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) has been embattled in scandal over alleged sexual misconduct with multiple women on the campaign trail and in his office. Top New York Democrats are calling for his resignation and impeachment.
But in his case, there is no paper trail tying mountains of cash to hush-money payments to accusers to keep them quiet. But that story is much different in New Mexico.
Democrat ex-governor Bill Richardson allegedly made $250,000 in hush-money payments from his campaign to a woman who had threatened to file a sexual harassment suit against him from a bank account in Mexico, according to the New York Times.
Richardson was also accused of being involved with pedophilic sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein, who trafficked underage girls. According to reports, “a woman claims Jeffrey Epstein directed her to have sex with powerful men, including former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson.”
It is unclear if extremely large hush-money payments of taxpayer funds involved sexual harassment accusations during the Republican Susana Martinez Administration, which amounted to over $1.7 million. But they sure happened. According to KRQE, “Sources say the Risk Management Division paid a group of disgruntled public employees huge sums of money in order to keep alleged compromising information about then Governor Susana Martinez under wraps.”
Now, Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has admitted to sending $62,500 in hush money payments from her campaign to her former aide, James Hallinan, after he accused her of pouring water over his crotch and then groping him in 2018. As CNN reports, Lujan Grisham claimed just last month to believe Cuomo’s accusers and all sexual harassment accusers in an interview with the Washington Post. She said, “We need to take seriously all these allegations and I’m frankly in that group of elected leaders that you believe the individual. You give real credit and credibility there. If you don’t, we’re re-victimizing brave men and women who come forward.”
It may seem to some that Lujan Grisham is just following in the footsteps of her corrupt predecessors who made large payments to their alleged accusers, some with taxpayer funds and some with campaign cash to keep the scandals out of the press.
But this is by no means the first time Lujan Grisham has been accused of similar behavior. According to a video made by a man named Eddie Dehart, Lujan Grisham allegedly grabbed his genitals during a birthday party in 2005.
According to Dehart, attendees of the party were playing pool when Lujan Grisham was alleged to have groped him in front of his then-girlfriend, saying, “you have a man here” after touching his genitals through his clothes.
With other politicians who have been embattled with sexual harassment scandals leaving office in disgrace, such as former Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) who paid off one victim $27,000 to keep quiet, or current Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) who has announced he will not seek re-election, a sexual harassment scandal can destroy a politician’s career if the accusations have merit.
Despite Lujan Grisham’s claims that the groping never happened, payments of tens of thousands of dollars to an accuser are not necessarily something that makes one look innocent, especially as the 2022 elections are right around the corner and Lujan Grisham must battle for her political life.
Lujan Grisham was previously considered for a cabinet position in the Joe Biden administration but did not receive a post, which may have had something to do with these hush payments to Hallinan. Gov. Andrew Cuomo was also considered but also did not receive a post in the administration.
Many have concluded that the alleged behavior of people like Cuomo and others puts them in the “sexual predator” category. A sexual predator “is a person seen as obtaining or trying to obtain sexual contact with another person in a metaphorically ‘predatory’ or abusive manner.”
Allegedly groping multiple victims’ crotches on possibly multiple occasions throughout the years may certainly be a sign that even more nefarious sexual activity may have happened in the past by Lujan Grisham. Does such activity make Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham a sexual predator? It depends on what further details may come out regarding other possible instances of sexual deviance.