Aug 07, 2013

KICKOFF TODAY: Will Republican Leaders Back Scandal-Plagued DesJarlais?

Republican Leaders in Congress face a choice.  

At 1 p.m. today, Congressman Scott DesJarlais, the Tennessee doctor who encouraged a patient he had sex with to get an abortion and prescribed pain medication to a lover during an affair, is launching his re-election campaign.

Will Speaker Boehner, Leader Cantor and the National Republican Congressional Committee stand by their man or continue sending the message that Congressional Republicans are willing to put their extremist ideology over women’s health? Until now, they have been silent.

“Congressman Scott DesJarlais is the latest example of exactly how dangerously out of touch Congressional Republicans are with the values of women in Tennessee and across the country,”  said Emily Bittner of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “It’s ‘family values’ Republicans like Congressman DesJarlais who Republican leaders need to take a stand against – or they will be standing with the same Todd Akin, Richard Murdock, Republican War on Women that cost Republicans in 2012. If national Republicans and the NRCC fail to condemn Congressman DesJarlais’ campaign today, they will have sent a clear message that Republicans are willing to put their extremist ideology over women’s health – again.”

BACKGROUND:

Congressman DesJarlais Had Sex with Patients, Encouraged Patient to Get an Abortion, and Prescribed Medication to Patient During an Affair. “A family practice doctor, DesJarlais was forced to empty his war chest when court records revealed a checkered past days before the election. Interviews and documents showed he had sex with two female patients and tried to persuade one to get an abortion. Court documents obtained by the Chattanooga Times Free Press confirmed that the anti-abortion politician supported his ex-wife’s abortions in the 1990s; slept with patients and co-workers while chief of staff at a Jasper hospital, bought expensive gifts for his patient-lovers; and prescribed one pain medication during their affair.” [Chattanooga Times Free Press, 2/24/13]

In May, Congressman DesJarlais was Reprimanded and Fined for Having Sex with Patients. “Rep. Scott DesJarlais, a licensed physician, was reprimanded and fined by the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners for having sex with patients before he was elected to Congress, according to documents released Tuesday […] He was fined $500 for two counts of unprofessional conduct, and is responsible for up to $1,000 in costs for the panel’s investigation. He did not contest the findings.” [Associated Press, 5/23/13]


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