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Former Oregon Sen. Bob Packwood resigned in the middle of an ethics invesitgation in 1995. Photo: Jack Smith / AP

The last time a U.S. senator faced an Ethics Committee investigation into allegations of sexual harassment or assault was in 1992. The senator was Bob Packwood of Oregon — accused of unwanted sexual advances by more than two dozen women over the course of 25 years — and the chair of the Ethics Committee was Mitch McConnell.

Why it matters: McConnell called Thursday for the committee to launch an investigation into a harassment allegation against Sen. Al Franken, who has said he'll cooperate. The Majority Leader has also said that, if elected, Roy Moore — Alabama's Republican candidate for Senate who has been accused of child sexual abuse — will face the Ethics Committee "immediately" after he's sworn into office.

In 1992, Packwood won re-election in Oregon. Days later, the Washington Post published a front page story detailing 10 women's allegations of sexual harassment. In the weeks and months that followed, more than a dozen additional women voiced allegations against the senator.

The Ethics Committee voted unanimously to expel Packwood in September of 1995. "These were not merely stolen kisses, as Senator Packwood has claimed ... There was a habitual pattern of aggressive, blatantly sexual advances, mostly directed at members of his own staff or others whose livelihoods were connected in some way to his power and authority as a Senator," McConnell said, per the New York Times. The next day, Packwood resigned in disgrace, ending his 27-year career.

Go deeper: "Past Sexual Misconduct Cases Show McConnell Is Willing to Take a Tough Line," by the New York Times

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled late Wednesday that restrictions previously imposed on New York places of worship by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) during the coronavirus pandemic violated the First Amendment.

Why it matters: The decision in a 5-4 vote heralds the first significant action by the new President Trump-appointed conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who cast the deciding vote in favor of the Catholic Church and Orthodox Jewish synagogues.

USAID chief tests positive for coronavirus

An Air Force cargo jet delivers USAID supplies to Russia earlier this year. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images

The acting administrator of the United States Agency for International Development informed senior staff Wednesday he has tested positive for coronavirus, two sources familiar with the call tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Barsa, who staffers say rarely wears a mask in their office, is the latest in a series of senior administration officials to contract the virus. His positive diagnosis comes amid broader turmoil at the agency following the election.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
11 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.