Bob Packwood


Bob Packwood

Infobox_Senator
name=Robert William Packwood


jr/sr=United States Senator
state=Oregon
term_start=January 3, 1969
term_end=October 1, 1995
preceded=Wayne Morse
succeeded=Ron Wyden
date of birth=birth date and age|1932|09|11
place of birth=Portland, Oregon, United States
date of death=
place of death=
spouse=Georgie Packwood (divorced)
profession=
religion=Unitarian
party=Republican|

Robert William "Bob" Packwood (born September 11, 1932) is an American politician from Oregon and a member of the Republican Party. He was forced to resign from the United States Senate, under threat of expulsion, in 1995 after allegations of sexual harassment, abuse, and assault of women emerged.

Early life and career

Lawyer turned legislator

Packwood was born in Portland, Oregon. He graduated from Willamette University in 1954 where he was a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity (the same Beta chapter as Senator Mark Hatfield).Fact|date=September 2008 Packwood graduated from the New York University School of Law in 1957. He was admitted to the bar in 1957 and practiced law in Portland. He was a member of the Oregon Legislative Assembly from 1963 to 1968.

U.S. Senator

Packwood was elected to the Senate in 1968, defeating Wayne Morse. He was reelected in 1974, 1980, 1986 and 1992. Packwood chaired the powerful Senate Finance Committee from 1985 to 1987, when he was instrumental in passage of the Tax Reform Act of 1986, and again in 1995. He was chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, 1979-1980. His voting record was moderate. He introduced the Senate's first abortion legalization bill in 1970, and was a strong advocate of abortion rights, earning the loyalty of many feminist groups,cite news
title= Bread & circuses - Senator Bob Packwood's public and private stance on women
work=National Review
date=October 9, 1995
first=Kate
last=O'Beirne
url=http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1282?tag=artBody;col1
accessdate=2008-07-05
] and the opposition of pro-life groups. He supported restrictions on gun owners and liberal civil rights legislation. In 1987 Packwood crossed party line to vote against the nomination of Robert Bork into the Supreme Court, and he was one of only two Republicans to vote against the nomination of Clarence Thomas into the court. In 1993 he was the only Senator to vote against mandatory life imprisonment for persons convicted of a third violent felony. [ [http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=103&session=1&vote=00357 U.S. Senate: Legislation & Records, Roll Call Vote] ]

In 1988, Packwood was dragged feet-first into the Senate Chamber for a quorum call on campaign finance reform legislation. [ [http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/minute/Quorum_busting.htm U.S. Senate: Art & History, Quorum Busting] ]

Road to resignation

exual misconduct allegations

Packwood's political career began to unravel in November 1992, when a Washington Post story detailed the claims of sexual abuse and assault by 10 women, chiefly former staffers and lobbyists. ["Senator Robert Packwood's History of Sexual Harassment" http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/clinton/frenzy/packwood.htm] Packwood was able to delay publication of the story until after the election, [ [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/clinton/congress.htm#packwood Washingtonpost.com Special Report: Clinton Accused ] ] in which he defeated Democrat Les AuCoin 52.1% to 46.5%. Despite having supported Packwood throughout his career for his generally liberal voting record, left-of-center interest groups, e.g. National Organization for Women, endorsed his opponent.Fact|date=August 2007

As the situation developed, Packwood's diary became an issue. Wrangling over whether the diary could be subpoenaed and whether it was protected by the Fifth Amendment's protection against self-incrimination ensued. He did turn over 5000 pages to the Senate Ethics Committee but balked when a further 3200 pages were demanded by the committee. It was discovered that he had edited the diary, removing what were allegedly references to sexual encounters and the sexual abuse allegations made against him. Packwood then made what some of his colleagues interpreted as a threat to expose wrongdoing by other members of Congress. The diary allegedly detailed some of his abusive behavior toward women and, according to a press statement made by former Nevada Senator Richard Bryan, other possibly, criminal activities. ["No Thanks for the Memories" http://www.time.com/time/magazine/printout/0,8816,979534,00.html]

"Saturday Night Live" spoofed the Packwood Diaries, having him end every entry with, "I stuck my tongue down her throat and groped her breasts." [Transcript of "Packwood Diaries" Sketch http://snltranscripts.jt.org/93/93fpackwood.phtml]

Expulsion recommendation & resignation

Notwithstanding public pressure for open and public hearings, the Senate ultimately decided against public hearings. With pressure mounting against him, Packwood finally announced his resignation from the Senate on September 7, 1995, ["Senator Robert Packwood's History of Sexual Harassment" http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/clinton/frenzy/packwood.htm ] after the Senate Ethics Committee unanimously recommended that he be expelled from the Senate for ethical misconduct. (The Ethics Committee membership is evenly divided between both parties.)

After the U.S. Senate

Soon after leaving the Senate, Packwood founded a lobbying firm called Sunrise Research Corporation. Among other projects, he played a key role in the 2001 fight to repeal the estate tax.Fact|date=August 2007

References

External links

* [http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=P000009 Congressional Biography]
* [http://www.courttv.com/archive/legaldocs/government/packwood2.html Text of the Senate's resolution for investigation, May 17, 1995.]


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