Herman Cain’s chief of staff, Mark Block, is currently being interviewed on MSNBC. Block says that Cain never sexually harassed anyone. He said he knew nothing about any alleged cash settlements with National Restaurant Association employees complaining about Cain’s behavior.
If the settlements included the standard non-disclosure agreements, parties may hide behind them as a reason to refuse to answer further questions. (Of course, with the alleged incidents in the headlines, they would seem rather moot.) But this is something fairly verifiable. Either the NRA made the payments or they didn’t, and a look at their books during the years in question would clarify whether there was an issue that the organization considered worth allocating money to resolve without further legal incident.
And if there were no payments, the National Restaurant Association wouldn’t be running afoul of any nondisclosure agreements by saying, “There were no payments.” The NRA statement to Politico was:
Please understand that our corporate policy is not to discuss personnel matters (other than to confirm employment and dates of employment) with outside sources, including media. Thus, I must respectfully decline to comment on your questions or any allegations you may be looking into that concern current or former employees of the Association.
In non-harassment-allegation news, Block says Cain is averaging $1.25 million per week in the past month, so he’s taken in roughly $5 million in October.
Chuck Todd asked a couple of questions about his smoking in the Cain web video, and at one point Block said, “We never expected this to go viral the way it did.” While modesty is an undervalued trait in American politics, isn’t that precisely the point of a web video?
UPDATE: The position of the Cain campaign appears to be that they are 100 percent certain that any allegations of sexual harassment from the 1990s are untrue, but that they have no knowledge whatsoever of whether there were legal settlements reached. Claiming absolute certainty and knowledge in one aspect of a matter and absolute ignorance in another aspect is… not reassuring.