2020 Election

Biden Taps Former Senator Who Made Waitress Sandwich With Ted Kennedy to VP Selection Committee

Joe Biden, who has been doing his best to avoid confronting allegations of sexual assault levied against him, has formed a committee to help him choose a (female) running mate. In light of those unanswered allegations, the former VP's decision, announced Thursday, to make his former Senate buddy Chris Dodd (D., Conn.) a cochair of that committee is somewhat problematic.

Dodd is no stranger to allegations of sexual misconduct. His alcohol-fueled bromance with the late senator Ted Kennedy (D., Mass.) is, on its own, damning evidence of deviant behavior. GQ magazine recounted a 1985 incident in which Kennedy and Dodd allegedly sexually assaulted a waitress during a drunken night out at La Brasserie, a Washington, D.C., restaurant.

As Kennedy and Dodd were wrapping up a long dinner with their dates—"two very young blondes"—the senators requested the presence of their waitress, Carla Gaviglio. While the young blondes were in the bathroom, Kennedy reportedly grabbed Gaviglio and threw her on the table, shattering plates and glasses. Kennedy then threw Gaviglio on top of Dodd's lap and began "rubbing his genital area against hers."

Gaviglio screamed and managed to escape when another waitress entered the room. "It's not my fault," Dodd reportedly said. The senators then exited the restaurant promptly, dates in tow.

Dodd's selection to the VP search committee was met with criticism from both sides of the political spectrum. "Chris freakin' Dodd? Are you kidding me?" wrote the feminist writer Jill Filipovic. "I am not joking when I say that we should just stop running men for office."

The long night at La Brasserie wasn't the only scandal attached to Dodd. He was also embroiled in a 2008 mortgage controversy involving Angelo Mozilo, the CEO of Countrywide, the mortgage giant that nearly went bankrupt during the financial crisis before being acquired by Bank of America.

Dodd was one of several prominent politicians to receive favorable mortgage financing through Countrywide, as well as thousands of dollars in campaign contributions, while promoting legislation that would benefit the mortgage lender. Mozilo, who had specially designated Dodd and others as "Friends of Angelo," was charged with insider trading and securities fraud the following year.

Upon leaving the Senate, Dodd became the chief lobbyist for the Motion Picture Association of America, where he was able to maintain a friendship with Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, who has since been convicted on rape charges. Dodd was the largest recipient of Weinstein campaign donations over the course of his political career.

Biden's vice presidential selection committee also includes Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D., Del.), Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, and former White House counsel Cynthia Hogan. Biden is expected to announce a decision on a running mate by July.

The Biden campaign did not respond to a request for comment.