Herman Cain accuser identified
Karen Kraushaar is pictured in 2000.
November 8th, 2011
03:48 PM ET
11 years ago

Herman Cain accuser identified

Washington (CNN) - One of the women who claims she was sexually harassed while she worked at the National Restaurant Association while Herman Cain headed the organization stepped forward publicly Tuesday.

Karen Kraushaar confirmed she was the accuser in interviews with The Washington Post and New York Times after her name was first published in several media stories. The name was initially reported by online news source The Daily and then Kraushaar confirmed it to National Public Radio.

Kraushaar is a director of communications at a bureau within the Treasury Department.

"When you are being sexually harassed in the workplace, you are extremely vulnerable," Kraushaar told the New York Times. "You do whatever you can to quickly get yourself into a job some place safe and that is what I thought I had achieved when I left."

She is one of two NRA employees who allege they were sexually harassed while they worked there in the 1990s during Cain's time as CEO,

Cain again Tuesday vehemently denied he ever committed sexual harassment.

Kraushaar, who worked at the association from 1998 to 1999, is a long-time civil servant and has held several communication jobs within the federal government.

Her attorney, Joel Bennett, denied Kraushaar had anything to do with the initial leaking of the story recounting the allegations.

"My client had nothing to do with releasing this story publicly," Bennett said on CNN's "The Situation Room" on Tuesday.

Kraushaar has not responded to requests for comment from CNN.

CNN contributor Maria Cardona, who hired Kraushaar at the Immigration and Naturalization Service after she the left the restaurant lobby, told CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger Kraushaar's "stomach is in knots."

"This has been heart wrenching for her, and still is," Cardona said.

One reason Kraushaar has been reluctant to come forward publicly, she told Cardona, is that "she can't stomach forming the words to talk about what happened to her."

Kraushaar worked under Cardona at the INS and was sent to Miami to handle the media during coverage of the deportation of young Cuban immigrant Elian Gonzalez.

"Karen was the ideal employee," Cardona said. "In my opinion, her credibility is beyond reproach. She was the utmost professional, one of the hardest working individuals I have ever known … the consummate team player."

Kraushaar told the Post she is ready to speak publicly.

"I am interested in a joint press conference for all of the women where we would all be together with our attorneys and all of these allegations could be reviewed as a collective body of evidence," she said.

Bennett last week issued a statement that he and Kraushaar wrote discussing some of her allegation against Cain. Kraushaar, however, decided not to go public with her identity at that time because she wanted to maintain her privacy, Bennett told CNN.

"She and her husband see no value in revisiting this matter nor in discussing the matter any further publicly or privately. In fact, it would be extremely painful to do so," Bennett said on Friday at a news conference.

Bennett said at the news conference that he was retained in 1999. At the time he said he and his client filed a complaint "about a series of inappropriate behaviors and unwanted advances" from Cain. He said his client wanted to rebut the denials issued by Cain but decided not to have the whole record of the incident released to the public.

Kraushaar is a registered Republican. Contribution records show she donated $250 to the Democratic National Committee in 2009.

- CNN's Kevin Bohn, Gloria Borger and Jim Acosta contributed to this story.

Filed under: 2012 • Herman Cain
soundoff (165 Responses)
  1. Daniel @ Fort Bragg

    What have we learned from Cain thus far???

    All women are Liars.

    Way to go, Cain!

    November 8, 2011 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    lololol, sounds like avalanche. Bye Bye Cain

    November 8, 2011 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  3. Mike - WA

    I wouldn't be surprised if we find out the Cain campaign hired Bailek and her lawyer as a red herring with was some obviously false story that they could easilty deny and then get on the air to distract from the true situations that were revealed last week.


    November 8, 2011 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  4. Mindie from Indie

    The problem isn't so much that he harrasses woman (which is bad enough) the problem is that HE LIED. We have come to expect lies from all GOP candidates.

    November 8, 2011 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  5. GaryB

    I feel bad for this woman. She didn't want to get in the fray and I suspect that she didn't want Cain to lay his hands on her back then. Although, not to excuse Cain, but back then, a lot of corporate execs (escpecially old school execs from Cain's era) had a sense of entitlement that they felt extended to the women that worked for them. Now they just feel entitled to all corporate profits (and forget sharing with the real working folks who actually make the profits happen).

    November 8, 2011 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  6. ayeinfidel

    Oh no he Cain't!
    Her-man denies even knowing the woman that accused him of sexual misconduct. There are records!! the hotel has a record of the date that the incident allegedly took place AND who paid for the room upgrade.

    November 8, 2011 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    "You know I have a boyfriend."

    You must not know many women. That phrase is a very quick and easy way to tell a guy to back off.

    November 8, 2011 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  8. zb

    Sexual Harassment is often difficult to prove one way or the other so for the moment Cain is entitled to be innocent until proven guilty and the woman are entitled to be treated as if they believe the truth of the allegations. However, having 4 woman who clearly had contact with him to make claims does at least make the charges more likely true.

    From the standpoint of his candidacy regardless of the truth or not of the charges, Cain's mishandling of the situation demonstrates he is not ready to be president. But even more important, his policies, ideas, and statements demonstrate he is not fit to be president. In that regard, however, he is no better or worse then the rest of the rest of the Republican/Tparty lunatics running for office.

    November 8, 2011 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  9. vet in texas

    I love how some are comparing this to Clinton............keep comparing, he lied about it too!

    Anthony Weiner lied about it
    Tiger Woods lied about it
    Edwards lied about it

    Now, for those who say the dems are scared to run Cain vs. Obama for the black vote..........No we are not, Cain would receive just as much as the black vote as Romney would, anyone who would vote for either have alot of money and are trying to make themselves equal to people who will never see them as equals, plus.......these women are white, and any black conservative woman will never vote for him because of that, hate to tell the truth, but sometimes the truth hurts.

    Cain is a fraud, who has been and will forever be a corporate shill. I'm waiting on him to mention Jesus, I think that will happen by the end of the week.

    November 8, 2011 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  10. Linda

    Republicans comparing this to what happen with Bill Clinton is ludicrous. The women President Clinton were involved with were all consenting adults. The Cain situation is completely different. We 're talking about sexual harrassment. I would think even republicans would know the difference. Also, those blaming democrats for leaking these stories are nuts. Let's thank those racist in the republican party who don't want a black man as their nominee.

    November 8, 2011 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  11. Bob

    Hermie, your time is up, bub. You can call EVERYONE lliars, but it is YOU who are dishonest, and disgusting.

    Back in to your hole, pizza man.

    November 8, 2011 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  12. LibertyQueen

    Takin' Herman Cain down...Sisterhood style.

    November 8, 2011 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  13. Change

    It is very pointless and silly of the rightwing nutheads to suggest that President Obama or liberals are trying to bring down Mr. Cain because the reality is that if Cain was to go up against President Obama in 2012, Cain would be defeated by a landslide and perhaps by the biggest lopsided margin in US presidential history. Mr. Cain you need to go seek professional help for your sexual illness. A matter of fact, all serial rapists need professional help for their illnesses.

    November 8, 2011 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  14. notsosure

    "That woman" reminded me of Clinton... he probably should have used a different phrase. "This troubled women" is something that even Clinton was smart enough not to say. Mr Cain is sounding like Mr Edwards, denying being the father of a baby... well until the test were made public. I think there is enough smoke here to be convinced there is a fire that is going to burn Cain.

    November 8, 2011 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  15. LarsWV

    WHY would the Dems want to sabotage Cain's campaign now? He's a DREAM to run against, and they would hold onto this until he got the nomination. This was a GOP job. But, Dems do to Dems in primaries, too. But GEEZE! How dim are some people? The DNC could care less at this stage of the game.

    November 8, 2011 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  16. Mariann Pepitone

    Cain shoulld not be running for the president of the US. He didn't think his accusations would come out and smear him but the two women that got paid should not have signed an agreement. Since the name of one of the women appeared she should tell her story about Cain. I believe eventually she will tell the story. And why is his wife living in another state? Cain is a wheeler dealer and a sweet talker. You have to read him carefully while he is speaking. I don't know how anyone could vote for a candidate who has no experience in the political field. doesn't know foreign policy or anthing about the war. And there should be a law that a candidate running for president have a clean slate with no smears. Cain doesn't have that because there will be more coming out against him.

    November 8, 2011 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  17. trashcup

    Cain supposedly is running his campaign on being a straight talker. Guess he blew that part. Time for Cain to directly address the situation and go take his lie detector test like he promised. There's too many women involved for this not to be true. If you can't stand the time, then don't do the crime, Mr. Cain. How many women did you hire while you were running the NRA? How many were promoted because they gave you special favors?

    November 8, 2011 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  18. Dixie

    Keep denying–keep lying Mr Cain. You just, today, wasted your last chance to come clean.

    November 8, 2011 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  19. testerbill

    It seems that the attorney, Bennett, knew of these two cases because he was the attorney for the women in 1999. He admitted in an interview that his files for the case no longer exist, so he has no documentation of the settlement or the restrictions. Since the two women he represented said they did not want to go public, Bennett is the one resposible for making this public, not the women.
    What is his motive?

    November 8, 2011 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  20. Mariann Pepitone

    S. Norton: You are so right. Since his wife was living in another state he mmust have played the field. He keeps denying the accusations but a company doesn't pay off worker's for no reason. If they didn't accept the agreement they would not have paid them. That means the situation was serious. The areason for this blonde women to come forward is because the accusations came out openly and after thought she decided to tell her story. I can believe her. Her finances has nothing to do with her accusations about Cain. There are thousands of people in debt and cannot pay.

    November 8, 2011 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  21. LibertyQueen

    On behalf of women all over this planet who have been sexually assaulted and sexually harassed, thank you, Sisters, for stepping up and taking down creepy cain.

    November 8, 2011 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  22. Mariann Pepitone

    KDenver: No one from another republican's campaign leaked the story out. Politico investigated Cain on their own and found the information about the two women being paid due to Cain's harrassments. Cain no doubt thought that no one would ever find out but when your a new candidate your background is investigated. If it continues he may have to drop out. As a republican voter I would definately not vote for Cain. He lacks the experience to run this country and needss severe training in foreign policy. He also should come forward and tell the truth. Denying the accusations will make it worse for him and he may have to quit.

    November 8, 2011 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  23. Jack V

    Herman Cain blamed Rick Perry. Now he blames it on a Democrat conspiracy. Why won't the blind followers of the GOP just admit these were Republican women involved & this guy has some major flaws. But really just admit it, the Tea Pugs, despite all their protesting, really want a daddy state to boss them around.

    November 8, 2011 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  24. Isn't that cute?

    Some commenters here seem to suggest that "Obummie" had those women planted back in the 90s? How else could it be??
    The hush payments were made in the 90s, that's on record. So the ladies coming forward now must have been planted then, yes? Otherwise how would you explain that Cain confirmed the payments? The ladies can't be just making this up because Cain has a national spotlight on him now. Either it never happened, the payments were never made...or.. XXX we covered that already. Sit back, enjoy new revelations. Sad thing is, that Cain is clinging to his candidacy, when he doesn't have a chance in heaven. That train left. (sorry, Newt, no chance to piggy baggy and become Cain's VP).

    November 8, 2011 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  25. Lisa P

    You know, as a bleeding heart liberal I keep trying to feel some sympathy for Herman Cain - I think we all know that the rules were changing pretty fast in the 1990's and it was hard for the egomaniacs at the top of the heap to keep up (see: Clinton, William Jefferson) - but then he again opens his mouth full throttle, brays counter-accusations and points fingers at everyone but himself. Seriously. Could anyone be more clueless? Do we really want this kind of idiot running the country? GOPers, please find a candidate who can give President Obama a real run in 2012. Hint: Herman Cain ain't it.

    November 8, 2011 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
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