Bredesen's #MeToo Problem

Oct. 2, 2018 -- If getting booed at his own event wasn’t enough, Phil Bredesen is now under fire for his coverup of sexual harassment claims as governor. Phil claimed at an event Monday that he had a "zero tolerance" policy towards sexual harassment during that time, but the facts show he was more interested in covering up the investigations.

The Washington Examiner puts it bluntly: "What can sink a political career more quickly than allegations of sexual harassment or assault? Allegations of working to cover up sexual harassment and assault."

As the Free Beacon points out:

Bredesen's claim during the event flies in the face of reported facts during his tenure as governor, when reporters caught his administration covering up details of sexual harassment allegations and helping the accused land jobs elsewhere.

Most egregious in the findings was the Bredesen administration's practice of shredding documentation of the accusations, which was found by both The Tennessean and the Associated Press to be done only when the accused were high-profile members of the administration.

The most public case came with Mack Cooper, who was Bredesen's top lobbyist in the governor's office before he was fired for violating the state's workplace harassment policy. All the details of Cooper's offense were shredded.

Bredesen insisted the decision to shred documents wasn't part of a "cover up," but acknowledged he had no way of proving that.

Bredesen's problem wasn't only top lobbyist Mack Cooper: there was a systemic practice of destroying documents related to investigations of Bredesen's appointees, while documents related to other state employees were preserved. As the Tennessean reported at the time:

The newspaper asked the Bredesen administration to provide the 10 most recent case files for workplace or sexual harassment reviewed by the state Personnel Department. In four cases in which the complaint was referred for investigation by the governor's office, the file was empty or contained limited documents that do not detail the problem or how the state responded. In five cases originating in other departments -- without involvement from the governor's office -- interview memos, reports or other documents were created and stored in the files provided to the newspaper. All records were withheld in one other case. (Tennessean, 5/21/05).

And Bredesen's comments at the time certainly don't help either. Amidst the public attention to his mishandling of these claims, Bredesen said, "Anytime you mix men and women together in a work environment there's going to be issues."

You can catch a recap of Bredesen's #MeToo problem from the NRSC's new ad.