Lawmakers Busted For Funneling More Than $15 Million Of Taxpayers Money To Silence Victims Of Sexual Harassment
A controversial and sensitive issue has taken center stage in Congress this week, with female lawmakers making fresh allegations of sexual harassment against unnamed members who are currently in office, and the unveiling of a new bill on Wednesday to change how sexual harassment complaints are reported and resolved.
In the process, two things became painfully clear: sexual harassment is “rampant” on Capitol Hill. And while there’s been little specific data to help illuminate just how pervasive sexual harassment is on Capitol Hill, one disturbing figure has emerged:
More than $15 million has been paid out to victims through the Office of Compliance, the office that handles sexual harassment complaints, CNN reports.
The news network also reported that during the current Congress, no settlement payment approval requests have been made to the congressional committee charged with approving them.
Rep. Jackie Speier, the California Democrat who on Wednesday unveiled a bill to reform the OOC, announced at a news conference Wednesday that there have been 260 settlements.
Where did the $15 million come from? Taxpayers.
Once a settlement is reached, the money is not paid out of an individual lawmaker’s office but rather comes out of a special fund set up to handle this within the US Treasury — meaning taxpayers are footing the bill. The fund was set up by the Congressional Accountability Act, the 1995 law that created the Office of Compliance.
It is unclear how much of the $15 million is money paid to sexual harassment victims because of the Office of Compliance’s complex reporting process.
When asked about Ryan’s knowledge of any sexual harassment settlements, a spokesperson for Ryan’s office noted that the committee is conducting a full review of workplace harassment and discrimination, according to the report.