|United States Senator|
January 3, 1987 - January 3, 1993
|5th United States Secretary of Transportation|
January 23, 1977 - July 20, 1979
|William Thaddeus Coleman Jr.|
|Chair of the House Budget Committee|
January 3, 1975 - January 3, 1977
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Washington's 7th district
January 3, 1965 - January 22, 1977
|K. William Stinson|
|John E. Cunningham|
|United States Attorney for the Western District of Washington|
|President||John F. Kennedy|
Lyndon B. Johnson
January 13, 1927
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Stevensville, Maryland, U.S.
|Education||University of Washington, Seattle (BA)|
Harvard University (LLB)
|Branch/service||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1944-1946|
Brockman "Brock" Adams (January 13, 1927 - September 10, 2004) was an American politician and member of Congress. A Democrat from Washington, Adams served as a U.S. Representative, Senator, and United States Secretary of Transportation. He was forced to retire in January 1993 due to public and widespread sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape allegations.
Adams was born in Atlanta, Georgia, and attended public schools in Portland, Oregon. He attended the University of Washington at Seattle where, in 1948, he was elected president of the student government (ASUW) and was the first student to both serve in that post and receive the President's Medal of Excellence as the University's top scholar. He graduated in 1949 and was admitted to Harvard Law School, where he earned his law degree in 1952.
Adams taught law at the American Institute of Banking from 1954 to 1960, and served as United States Attorney for the Western District of Washington from 1961 to 1964.
Adams was elected as a Democrat to the House and served six terms beginning January 3, 1965. He was chairman of the newly created Budget Committee during the 94th Congress, and was considered a strong candidate for Speaker of the House. On January 22, 1977, Adams resigned to become the fifth Secretary of Transportation following his appointment by President Jimmy Carter and confirmation by the Senate. After resigning his Cabinet post on July 20, 1979, Adams resumed law practice, this time in Washington, D.C., where he was a lobbyist for CSX Corporation and other railroad carriers.
On November 4, 1986, Adams was elected to the U.S. Senate, narrowly defeating incumbent Republican Slade Gorton with 50.66% of the vote. Serving one term, he compiled a liberal record and was strongly supportive of his party's leadership.
In 1992 eight women made statements to The Seattle Times alleging that Adams had committed various acts of sexual misconduct, including sexual assault, molestation and rape. Multiple women said they were drugged after being served suspicious drinks and either assaulted or raped.
In the exposé, an unnamed source said, "Adams had long been known by his staff and associates for aggressively kissing and handling women within his reach."
A former Democratic Party activist alleged that in the early 1970s, when Adams was serving in the House of Representatives, he invited her to a Seattle bar, where he drugged her with what he called "Vitamin C", after she recalled suffering from a cold. The woman said Adams followed her home, pushed her onto a couch and raped her.
A young woman in her thirties told The Washingtonian that while she was seated to Adams's right at a formal luncheon shortly after she had taken a new job on Capitol Hill, he slid his hand under her skirt to the upper part of her thigh, whereupon she tried to move her leg away from him. Failing that, she said she tried to remove his hand, but Adams dug his fingers into her skin.
Adams denied the allegations in a press conference. But already under the spotlight due to previously aired allegations that he drugged and molested a young female aide in 1987, a highly publicized matter in which no charges were brought, Adams was forced to drop out of his reelection campaign. He never lost an election, and lived in Stevensville, Maryland, until his death of complications from Parkinson's disease.
Adams's willingness to plunge into controversial issues was evident in the contrasting assessments of his tenure and accomplishments during a tumultuous period in transportation. The Wall Street Journal in 1979 called him the "biggest disappointment" in the Carter cabinet, while Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook, who led the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration under Adams, called him "absolutely one of the best transportation secretaries we've ever had". Adams was also a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society.
In 2020, an extensive PBS exposé concerning the workplace for women in the 1990s in Washington, D.C., described the climate of "sexual harassment and sexual entitlement [that] existed in some offices in the Senate", driven by some male senators whose behavior was well known on Capitol Hill. There was a list of congressmen that young women were told to keep away from, which included Adams, Bob Packwood, Strom Thurmond, and Ted Kennedy.
|U.S. House of Representatives|
K. William Stinson
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Washington's 7th congressional district
John E. Cunningham
| Chair of the House Budget Committee
William Thaddeus Coleman Jr.
| United States Secretary of Transportation
|Party political offices|
| Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Washington
| U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Washington
Served alongside: Daniel J. Evans, Slade Gorton