Features

Billboard jungle

National

Issue: "Stand in the gap," Oct. 18, 1997

On the theory that what's good for the troops is good for the commander, the Free Congress Foundation wants you to call if you have been sexually harassed by President Clinton. Now that the military has set up an anonymous hotline to collect sexual harassment tips on the troops in the trenches, says Brad Keena, it's only fair that subordinates of the commander in chief be granted a similar avenue for complaints.

Military brass, of course, pulled the plug on their hotline after callers jammed the lines with all sorts of bogus calls. Undaunted (that was a government operation, after all), the Free Congress Foundation has put up three billboards in Little Rock and one in Hot Springs, advertising the toll-free number by which a person can report sexual abuse by the president. FCF also painted the message and telephone number on a van, which toured the streets of Little Rock. And the group also painted a semi-tractor trailer with the message and parked it in Little Rock when Clinton was there last week.

"We've gotten a lot of calls, either supportive or angry," Mr. Keena says. "They are angry that we are serious about this. The left is furious about this." Some may perceive this as "political harassment," Mr. Keena concedes, since stopping sexual harassment is not considered in many camps as crucial to the survival of a free Congress. But it's not an attack, he claims. So far, the hotline has not yielded any claims of harassment that can be substantiated, but it has generated some calls worth following up. And someone seems to be attempting to jam the line, he says. "That goes with the territory."

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The billboards went up Sept. 22, the same day FCF opened an Internet website: clintonontrial.com. The website offers updated news on the various White House scandals from Whitewater to Travelgate and Filegate to Paula Jones's case.

FCF also hopes its campaign will encourage discussion about what it believes actually constitutes sexual harassment. Mr. Keena says, "We want to make narrow what that [definition] is."

In Arkansas, a couple of the billboards have been vandalized, prompting FCF to hire 24-hour guards. And the group plans to expand its billboard campaign. "Our intention is to do the same in Washington," Mr. Keena says, "but we haven't found a billboard company willing to sell us the space."

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