“As charges of sexual harassment and assault swept from Hollywood to Washington, Congress has faced questions about how it addresses such claims. The answer: terribly.
For two decades, taxpayers have been underwriting secret payments to people who accuse lawmakers of sexual misconduct under a 1995 law called, paradoxically, the Congressional Accountability Act. The legislation applied to Congress many laws on workplace safety, employment and civil rights from which it had been exempt. In the process, it established an account to pay settlements, which prevented lawmakers from being personally liable, and created an Office of Compliance that kept charges and payments secret.
After public pressure, the Office of Compliance released a tally of the settlements this month: Between 1997 and the present, the office has paid more than $17 million on more than 260 claims. In keeping with Congress’s maddening lack of transparency, the tally lumps harassment with discrimination and other claims, so the number of harassment claims isn’t clear. It also doesn’t name any of those accused.”
DL: Yuck. Yuck. Thank you for the editorial. There were many good comments also, the most popular being:
Dandy Maine 13 hours ago
We would all want to know which Representatives and Senators were accused of sexual misconduct. Why should we tax payers help cover this up?
Reply 155 Recommended
ChristineMcM is a trusted commenter Massachusetts 13 hours ago
And to think they’re about to pass a huge tax give-away to the wealthy while stiffing us working stiffs.
They should get their house in order, and pay the $17 million back to the US treasury before even thinking of passing tax “reform’.
It’s the ultimate irony that what they did to their victims they’re doing to us, with one exception: we won’t receive any hush money collected on the average taxpayer’s dime.
Reply 130 Recommended
c ny 13 hours ago
Disgusting, isn’t it?
We, taxpayers, foot the bill whether we agree or not.
Long past time the public knows who we are subsidizing, and time to stop making ANY person not accountable for his or her actions. In Congress or not.
Start with the White House occupant. He should be accountable too.
Reply 107 Recommended
N. Eichler CA 3 hours ago
I would like those members of Congress for whom settlements have been paid to be named including, as well, the dates of their transgressions. Furthermore, each of these members of Congress must repay the Treasury the amount of the original settlement. Any future such acts of thoughtless idiocy must be made public, and settlements paid by the transgressor not the taxpayer.
None of my taxpayer dollars are to be used by these miscreants allowing them to remain anonymous. I expect those dollars to be used for medical coverage, to increase teachers’ salaries, build more schools, maintain roads and bridges,
make certain we have clean air and water.
Those dollars are to benefit our country and its citizens and not men who refuse to understand the limits of familiarity.
Bob Bascelli Seaford NY 3 hours ago
Jack and Jill went up the Hill. Jill came down and is required to undergo counseling, mediation and a 30-day “cooling off period” before filing a formal complaint of sexual misconduct. This is victim intimidation, plain and simple. Sexual misconduct by the “Fools on the Hill” is a national disgrace. If lawmakers need “mandatory training in appropriate behavior toward their staff” in order to avoid misconduct, how can they be competent enough to be our representatives? Why does Jill need a 30 day cooling off period when it is Jack who needs the cooling off?
Reply 88 Recommended