The latest round of the Herman Cain saga turns its focus back on the accusers with a report that one of the women who settled a complaint with the National Restaurant Association, filed a different complaint against supervisors at her next job.
The Associated Press reports today that Karen Kraushaar, who settled her case with the NRA in 1999, went on to work in the Immigration and Naturalization Sevice as a spokesperson. In 2002, she filed a complaint against three supervisors (that did not include formal sexual harassment claims) and according to the AP, she asked for a cash payment, a promotion, and a raise. The complaint focused on the denial of a request to work from home after a car accident and "sexually explicit" email forwards that included jokes about the differences between men and women.
The story includes comments from Kraushaar saying that she does not remember the details (sound familiar?) and that she considered it "minor." The claim was later dropped and she moved to the Treasury Department.
The not-so-subtle implication in this story seems to be that she might be some kind of serial complainer, or perhaps an overly sensitive employee who sees institution harassment in every slight. The AP story (via Fox News) flat out says:
Details of the workplace complaint that Kraushaar made at the immigration service are relevant because they could offer insights into how she responded to conflicts at work.
Translation: Maybe she's the crazy one?
The truth, of course, is that the two complaints are not related and that no matter what happened at the INS, that wouldn't prove or disprove the behavior of Herman Cain. It's still a "he said, she said" matter, but making it a "she said, and then she said again later" matter isn't helpful. It doesn't quite rise to the level of character assassination, but Kraushaar told the AP, the implications are clear.
"What you're looking for here is evidence of an employee who is out to get people," [Kraushaar] said. "That's completely untrue."
What does matter is the truth about what happened and we don't seem to know the answers yet, in either case.