- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 25, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Kirsten Gillibrand, the senator at the forefront of calling for a withdrawal of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s name from Supreme Court nomination because two women say he’s guilty of sexual misconduct — but have yet to bring forth the evidence — was once herself accused of seedy ties to a sexual slave cult.

She denied it.

But the accusation was made. The media reported. She was accused of turning blind eyes to her own father’s connection to this group.

And here’s the part that really pops: Gillibrand was given the benefit of the doubt on these accusations and duly cleared. They were found to have cropped for political reasons only.

But if she had been forced by the media and a hating political opposition force to go by the same standards she’s applying to Kavanaugh, fact is, Gillibrand shouldn’t have her senatorial seat any longer.

This all took place just in March — just a few weeks ago, just a short enough time ago that the sting from her own unpleasant ordeal should be sharp in her memory. Just a short enough time ago that she should be reeling from hypocrisy about now, as she demands Kavanaugh, absent due process, absent solid evidence, steps aside and lose his chance to become a Supreme Court justice.

Look at this headline from the Washington Free Beacon, from a few months ago: “GOP Opponent Slams Gillibrand for Claiming ‘Ignorance’ of Alleged Sex Trafficking Group.”

The story goes on to recount how Gillibrand’s father, Doug Rutnik, had in 2004 served as a lobbyist for Nxivm, a group accused of sex trafficking as well as of financial improprieties. And as Gillibrand’s Republican challenger, Chele Farley, put it: “For Kirsten Gillibrand, the self-proclaimed #MeToo senator, to claim ignorance about a notorious sex-slave cult, in her own backyard, is simply hard to believe.”

Gillbrand denied the accusations. As Kavanaugh’s now doing.

Senator Gillibrand had never heard of this group until she recently read about them in the newspaper,” one of her spokespeople said.

The Washington Free Beacon wasn’t the only news outlet reporting on this situation.

“The Only (Alleged) Sex-Slave Cult Story You Need to Understand Kirsten Gillibrand’s Weaknesses as a 2020 Candidate,” blasted Salon, also in March.

Still, most other media, including The Washington Post, rushed to defend Gillibrand and clear her name. 

How lucky for Gillibrand.

Kavanaugh’s not been so lucky. Neither the media nor Gillibrand have exactly given him a fair shake, preferring instead to convict first, get evidence later.

As Gillibrand tweeted of Kavanaugh: “Enough is enough. … The Senate should not be complicit in supporting a candidate with such serious and credible allegations of sexual misconduct.”

Based solely on unfounded accusations of two women, Gillibrand called for Kavanaugh’s name to be withdrawn from the process.

That’s a bit hypocritical, yes? 

Gillibrand wants to deny Kavanaugh the very due process she benefitted from herself back in March. 

This is not right. And Gillibrand herself ought to know better.

If Gillibrand gets a free pass and media cover, then Kavanaugh deserves at least a little of that same due process. At the same time, if Kavanaugh’s accusers are to be automatically believed — if Kavanaugh is not to be given any benefit of doubt — well then, the clock needs to tick back to the time when Gillibrand faced her own set of accusations, her own set of accusers, and allow for a tit-for-tat correction in justice. And that means she needs to cede her senatorial seat.

After all, Gillibrand’s dad really did lobby for Nxivm for four months, earning about $100,000 in the process. The accusations against Kavanaugh are, so far, anyway, being flown on much flimsier wings.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

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