David Wu joins parade of House resignations

Number of lawmakers in the 112th Congress who’ve resigned: Five.

Number of jobs bills voted on in the 112th Congress: Zero.

Honestly, this is getting ridiculous.

Oregon Rep. David Wu is resigning from Congress, just four days after a report in the Portland Oregonian that the Congressman had been accused of sexual misconduct.

In a statement released by his Congressional office, the seven-term Democrat from Portland said “the time has come to hand on the privilege of high office. I cannot care for my family the way I wish while serving in Congress and fighting these very serious allegations.”

It’s a sad end of a once-promising career. Wu has struggled badly with mental health issues in recent years, but the allegations of sexual misconduct were simply too serious to allow him to stay in office.

I should note, however, that Wu isn’t walking away today. In his resignation announcement, the congressman said he would give up his office “upon the resolution of the debt-ceiling crisis.” And one cannot be sure when that might happen.

As for the district, it’s a pretty liberal area, and Democrats expect to keep the seat.

But in the bigger picture, when considering whether this is, in fact, the Worst Congress Ever, the spate of resignations certainly doesn’t help the reputation of the 112th. This Congress only started six months ago, but has already seen five lawmakers walk away mid-term. Worse, this Congress’ sole public mandate was to focus on job creation, and Republican lawmakers have done the exact opposite, ignoring jobs, focusing on cuts that would make unemployment worse, and creating a debt-ceiling crisis that threatens to crash the economy.

Some recent polling shows Congress’ approval rating in the mid-teens. Those who think that’s about as low as it can go are mistaken.

Postscript: Quick quiz: can you name all five resignations from 2011? I’ll put the answer after the jump for those who want to play along.

Three Democrats have resigned. California Rep. Jane Harman left to become the head of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, while New York Rep. Anthony Weiner and Oregon Rep. David Wu stepped down in the wake of sex scandals.

Two Republicans have also resigned. New York Rep. Chris Lee and Nevada Sen. John Ensign both gave up their seats, both as a result of sex scandals.

Update: As matt w noted in comments, Nevada’s Dean Heller also resigned, but since he left the House to fill Ensign’s Senate vacancy, I’m inclined to leave him off the resignation list. He is, after all, still in Congress.