After Sex Allegation, U.S. Congressman Wu to Resign

By Kevin Freking, Associated Press
Published August 5, 2011

WASHINGTON—U.S. Congressman David Wu announced July 26 that he will resign amid political fallout from an 18-year-old woman's allegations that she had an unwanted sexual encounter with him.

Democratic leaders had set up a House of Representatives Ethics investigation after the initial reports of the allegation against seven-term Democrat Wu had said that whatever had occurred had been consensual.

Wu, 56, said July 26 the well-being of his children should come first, so he will resign after Congress resolves the current debate over the federal debt ceiling.

In 2004 Wu, now 56, won re-election despite acknowledging a decades-old college incident in which he tried to force a former girlfriend to have sex. Voters said they disliked an opponent's attempt to use that against Wu as part of a political campaign.

Within days of the latest allegation against Wu, Democratic leaders requested a House Ethics Committee investigation of his conduct. He had said July 25 that he would not seek re-election but had come under increasing pressure to step down.

"The wellbeing of my children must come before anything else,'' Wu said in a statement. "With great sadness, I therefore intend to resign effective upon the resolution of the debt-ceiling crisis. This is the right decision for my family, the institution of the House, and my colleagues.''

Wu is the second House Democrat in the past several weeks to be forced to resign as a result of a sex scandal. Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York resigned after sending lewd photos of himself through Twitter.

Wu, who separated from his wife more than a year ago, was first elected to Congress in 1998 as the first Chinese American to serve in the House. He has maintained a centrist voting record but has been a leading voice on human rights abuses in China. He angered the high-tech firms in his district when he voted against normalizing trade relations with China.

Wu's hometown newspaper, the Oregonian, reported that a California woman had called Wu's office in Portland and reported an unwanted sexual encounter with him. The paper also reported that Wu told senior aides the sexual encounter was consensual.

The newspaper said the woman decided not to press charges because there were no witnesses and it would have been her word against Wu's.

Democratic primary challengers immediately demanded Wu's resignation.

"It has been the greatest privilege of my life to be a United States Congressman,'' Wu said in his resignation announcement. "Rare is the nation in which an immigrant child can become a national political figure. I thank God and my parents for the privilege of being an American.''

Wu went on to say that the resignation was the only correct decision to avoid distraction from the important work taking place in Washington.

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version