And the next congressman to leave in shame will be…

In the face of disturbing sexual misconduct allegations, Oregon's David Wu hasn't resigned -- yet

Topics: U.S. House of Representatives, Democratic Party, Sexual abuse, War Room,

And the next congressman to leave in shame will be...FILE - In this Aug. 17, 2010 file photo, Congressman David Wu, D-Ore., speaks during an interview in Portland, Ore. Wu is calling a published report about an alleged unwanted sexual encounter with a young woman "very serious" but has not yet said whether the accusation is true. The Oregonian reports that a young woman from California has accused the Democrat of an unwanted sexual encounter last November. The newspaper said the information came from sources who wanted to remain anonymous. (AP Photo/Don Ryan, File)(Credit: AP)

Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.) has made a number of unpredictable career moves in the past year: He sent his staffers a series of strange emails, including a photo of himself grinning in a tiger costume; he was kept from going to events during his reelection campaign, owing to erratic behavior; and he then publicly announced that he was seeking professional help for mental health issues.

Now, however, his political career has taken an all-too-predictable path: Top House Democrats are calling for the Ethics Committee to investigate him on allegations of sexual misconduct. And, like Rep. Anthony Weiner did just weeks before him, Wu is refusing to step down, despite calls for his resignation.

The seven-term congressman has been accused of engaging in an “aggressive and unwanted sexual encounter” last Thanksgiving with the teenage daughter of a longtime friend and campaign donor. Although refusing to resign, Wu’s adviser has said the congressman will not run for reelection in 2012. Wu gave a brief comment on the accusations:

“This is very serious, and I have absolutely no desire to bring unwanted publicity, attention, or stress to a young woman and her family,” he said.



However, publicity, attention and stress will all be heaped upon Wu now that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has called on the Ethics Committee to investigate the troubling allegations. And such scandals — disturbingly frequent as they seem to be — have determined paths: Pressure will mount for the embattled Wu to step down, and his chances of lasting until next year appear slim.

Democrats in his Oregon district plan to hold a vote of “No Confidence” in Wu; New York Rep. Steve Israel, who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, called the allegations “serious and disturbing”; top Democrats in Congress, Politico reports, told Wu “that he has no support.” The death knell has sounded

Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email nlennard@salon.com.

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