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MILLER: David Wu must go
Democratic embarrassment should not receive taxpayer subsidy
Question of the Day
**UPDATE: Rep. Wu's office released a statement on Wednesday night after "notifying Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber and House Speaker John Boehner of his resignation effective today, August 3, 2011 at 11:59 p.m."
A spokesman for Mr. Boehner said that he had not received the notice. The governor's spokesman said that Mr. Wu called him at 5 p.m. local time, but "we have not received his letter of resignation." The governor's office cannot release dates for a special election to fill the seat until the congressman officially steps down.**
It's time for the Oregon representative best known for sending around bizarre photos of himself in a tiger costume to go. Rep. David Wu promised to resign from Congress after accusations emerged that he sexually assaulted a teenager. He ought not to collect another dime from taxpayers.
On July 26, Mr. Wu gave in to pressure from Democratic Party leaders and promised to "resign effective upon the resolution of the debt-ceiling crisis." On Monday, Mr. Wu cast a vote in favor of the debt deal, which the president signed into law.
It's over, but the Oregon Democrat has yet to transmit the letter giving up his official position. Until he does so, he keeps his $174,000 salary, health care benefits, two congressional offices, complimentary use of the U.S. mail and free air travel to and from Oregon.
Mr. Wu's office did not acknowledge requests for comment.
The seven-term congressman issued a video statement Monday explaining the thought process behind his vote to increase the federal borrowing limit. Mr. Wu said the legislation was "abhorrent to me and the values that I hold. It makes deep cuts, cuts in programs that I care about: in science and technology, in help for the poorest among us." He ended cagily, "it is likely to be my last vote."
That may be the case, but each day he waits before sending the resignation letter to Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, he pockets $477 in salary. Mr. Kitzhaber said he intends to call a special primary 80 days after he receives notice.
"We want to be respectful of the congressman, but we want his district to be represented if or when he sends the resignation letter," the governor's press secretary, Christine Miles, told The Washington Times on Wednesday. "We were expecting a letter yesterday. We expect it today. We are just waiting."
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, had asked the Ethics Committee to investigate Mr. Wu after an 18-year-old girl accused him of sexual assault. The Oregonian newspaper reported that the 56-year-old acknowledged to staff that he had had sex with the daughter of a high school friend and campaign donor over Thanksgiving but had said the encounter was consensual.
In 2004, the Oregonian exposed a 1976 attempted rape allegation against Mr. Wu involving a fellow Stanford college student. The school disciplined him and ordered counseling, but no criminal charges were filed. The congressman admitted to "inexcusable behavior."
Just before the 2010 sexual episode, this public servant used his government-issued Blackberry to send the infamous tiger photo to his staff. Mr. Wu tried to justify his erratic action by claiming it was a result of taking prescription painkillers.
"Last October was not a good month," he told ABC News in February. "It was very stressful. I did some things; I said some things which I sincerely regret now." He later claimed he was able to serve his term with mental health treatment.
American taxpayers shouldn't continue to subsidize Mr. Wu. He should overnight his resignation letter and then come clean about what happened with his friend's daughter.
Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Emily Miller is senior editor of opinion for The Washington Times. She is the author of “Emily Gets Her Gun … But Obama Wants to Take Yours” (Regnery 2013). Miller won the 2012 Clark Mollenhoff Award for Investigative Reporting from the Institute on Political Journalism.
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