On Monday, Congressman Dale Kildee released a statement in response to sexual misconduct charges. Mr. Kildee represents Michigan’s 5th Congressional District (counties around Flint). The statement outlines a scandal – either perpetrated against him or by him.
Mr. Kildee explained, “The allegations against me are completely false and shameful.” Michiganders expected that comment. Every politician accused of heinous activity would deny the charges. One thing makes Kildee’s statement different from recent sexual misconduct charges against Herman Cain and Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky. Mr. Kildee went on to state the allegations against him are, “a concerted effort by distant relatives, two of whom have a long history of mental illness and multiple run-ins with the law.”
Independents recognize that Mr. Kildee is giving his constituents specific, verifiable explanations. Appealing to evidence and verifiable facts, Kildee’s statement is the response Michiganders deserve. This is what citizens should expect. Public servants work for the people. Just as an employee must explain his activity to his boss, a politician accused of serious crimes owes his constituents an explanation. Mr. Kildee did not give voters the run-around.
Specific details are easy to prove. Provable facts are what innocent people tend to appeal to. The guilty tend to avoid these kinds of details. Independents will remember the congressman’s statement and see if the facts shape up the way he says. These are two things readers of this column can look for:
Does anyone go to jail for blackmail? Mr. Kildee claims he notified the FBI of this attempted blackmail. He claims the FBI has recorded conversations proving blackmail. Watch for charges against the accusers.
What run-ins with the law have these accusers accumulated? The statement claims Mr. Kildee’s accusers have a history of trouble with the law. Mr. Kildee is walking a fine line. If his accusers committed crimes similar to blackmail, then making it public would be part of a fair explanation to voters. If, on the other hand, his accusers’ legal troubles turn out to be minor or unrelated, then Mr. Kildee is involved in character assassination every bit as much as he claims are his accusers.
Crimes are independent of political party. Blackmail or sexual misconduct should be vigorously prosecuted with blind impartiality. One of those crimes was committed. The thing in Mr. Kildee’s favor is his specific claims. Time will prove the criminal. That is what Michigan deserves and should demand.