May 23, 2013

CREW Statement Following TN Medical Board’s Resolution of Complaint Against Rep. Scott DesJarlais

Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN)Washington, D.C. — Today, the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners fined Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) $500 and issued a reprimand as a result of two complaints filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) alleging that the congressman/doctor had engaged in sexual relationships with two of his patients.

In response to the piteous penalty of $250 per patient, CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan stated, “There are more expensive traffic tickets.  Tennessee authorities apparently believe sexual exploitation of women is less serious than speeding.”

CREW filed two complaints against Rep. DesJarlais last fall after it was revealed he had affairs with women he had been treating.  Tennessee law strictly prohibits such conduct and possible penalties include restrictions on a physician’s practice, suspension, and revocation of his medical license.  No such penalties were imposed on Rep. DesJarlais.

Yesterday, during a House Oversight Committee hearing regarding the IRS scandal, Rep. DesJarlais stated, “What people want to know is who is going to be held accountable and how they’re going to be held accountable.”

Sloan continued, “Accountability begins at home.  As we predicted when we filed our complaints, despite the fact that Rep. DesJarlais’s conduct is a clear-cut violation of Tennessee law, state authorities gave him a pass.  Let’s hope the Office of Congressional Ethics, which is also considering a complaint against Rep. DesJarlais, takes a dimmer view of his outrageous misconduct.”

Ironically, while offering up this slap on the wrist, the Board of Medical Examiners defends its action as necessary to protect the state’s citizens and preserve public confidence in the integrity of the medical profession.  Sloan concluded, “In reality, this decision demonstrates that Tennessee’s ban on sexual exploitation of patients is essentially meaningless.  Doctors in the Volunteer State can freely prey on patients with little fear of repercussions.”

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a non-profit legal watchdog group dedicated to holding public officials accountable for their actions. For more information, please visit or contact Jordan Libowitz at 202.408.5565 or

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