You might think that the recent release of Bill Clinton's memoirs would serve as a reminder to politicians of the perils of fooling around with interns. Apparently, however, legislators in New York State need a set of rules to discourage the practice.
The state Assembly has issued new guidelines prohibiting fraternization between interns and legislators or staff, banning the former from events where alcohol is served. The new strictures had been in the works for months but took on greater urgency with the criminal investigation of state Representative Adam Clayton Powell, who was accused of plying a 19-year-old intern with liquor during a sexual encounter.
"There was a concern for the legal liability when some of these receptions were taking place--most of the caterers and vendors did not card," says state Representative Rob Canestrari, co-chair of the Assembly's intern program. "We wanted to reassure colleges across the state that we are running a pretty tight ship here."
Albany has been rocked by sex and criminal scandals of late, but state Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno announced that his body needed no special guidance in dealing with interns. Not all his colleagues agree, however.
"The Senate hasn't had public exposure, but it's still a problem," says Senator Liz Krueger. "I witnessed a senator inappropriately touching an intern, who complained. I expressed my outrage at his behavior and went in and demanded sex harassment training for all the senators."