Embattled Rep. David Wu spoke with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi Saturday, one day after the Oregon Democrat faced new sexual misconduct allegations, but it is not clear whether Pelosi suggested he resign.
A Democratic source confirmed that Wu spoke with the California Democrat, but would not provide details of their conversation. The discussion comes the day after the Oregonian reported that a young woman accused the seven-term lawmaker of sexual misconduct.
The report, citing multiple sources, alleged that “a distraught young woman” called Wu’s Portland office this spring, “accusing him of an unwanted sexual encounter.” In a brief statement, Wu said only: “This is very serious, and I have absolutely no desire to bring unwanted publicity, attention or stress to a young woman and her family.”
Wu spokesman Erik Dorey would not confirm his boss’ conversation with Pelosi or any other Congressional leaders regarding the Oregonian report.
Democratic leaders also have not publicly addressed the sensitive matter, but pressure began to mount back home on Saturday for Wu to resign. Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian, one of two Democrats running against Wu, said the Congressman should step down because of his “serious misconduct.”
“I think any 56-year-old man, especially a 56-year-old Congressman, that asserts himself like this on an 18-year-old girl has got no business serving in Congress,” Avakian told reporters. “There is nothing that can be explained that makes this situation right. He’s got to resign and give this district a chance to have a strong partner representing them.”
Friday’s report is the latest in a series of unflattering stories about erratic behavior that have put Wu on the defensive in recent months and stretch at least as far back to his 2010 re-election bid.
In February, Wu said that sending his staffers photos of himself in a tiger costume was “inappropriate.” The Congressman said he is getting mental health treatment and acknowledged he is taking medication. At the time, Congressional leaders showed token support for Wu publicly, and did not call on him to resign. Asked about Wu’s behavior at a press conference in March, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said that it was “premature” for Wu to step down from office and noted that he was dispatching his deputy chief of staff “to make sure that he gets help.”
Wu is already facing a primary challenge against Avakian and state Rep. Brad Witt, and redistricting could further complicate the Congressman’s re-election efforts in 2012.