Sexual harassment claims against Congress were paid by the US taxpayers and their cases were buried under non-disclosure agreements to keep them secret and protect the…
The American taxpayers have paid out money in at least two sexual harassment cases in the period between 1997 and 2016 and the related information as to the parties involved is sealed. We aren’t allowed to know who was a perpetrator, what they did or how much their exploits cost us.
That’s the information from Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) that she shared with lawmakers in Tuesday in a House hearing and on television. A fund through the general treasury covers not only sexual harassment but also discrimination settlements and the specifics of the types and particulars are not released publicly.
In her House hearing Speier and Rep Barbara Comstock spoke of two instances where two lawmakers, one Republican and one Democrat, who are still serving, have engaged in sexual harassment. Speier talks about the complaint process and how interns and fellows, the most likely victims, are not even allowed to avail themselves of it.
She also describes how the process is entirely geared towards protecting the offender, with a confidentiality agreement required in advance in order for the process to proceed and that it is a lengthy one which often requires the victim to continue to work alongside the offender. The victim is also not provided legal counsel while the offending official has government attorneys.
Elizabeth Harrington of the Washington Free Beacon said, “I cover a lot of wasteful spending at the Free Beacon and this $15 million on sexual harassment settlements, I think, is particularly egregious because we’re basically paying to cover up this behavior.”
She continues, “And I think Lindsey Graham is right, he just came out and said that these members need to be named.” She didn’t mean to imply that Graham had “come out,” just that he was speaking out.
“And I think that absolutely they should pay it back,” she says, “whoever these members were over the past fifteen years that have used taxpayer funding to silence women or young men, whoever the case may be, these victims, I think is really shameful and I think they should definitely pay back the treasury.”
“She says Congress needs to fix this and not allow this to continue.” Now that attention is being shifted into this direction, we can expect the early retirement announcements to continue.
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