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Congress Pressured to End Sexual Harassment Secret Payoffs as They Expect More Scandals

Congress Pressured to End Sexual Harassment Secret Payoffs as They Expect More Scandals

One victim told Rep. Speier the process is “almost worse than the harassment.”

Minnesota Democrat Senator Al Franken. Michigan Democrat Representative John Conyers. Who is next? It could be anyone! A Washington Post report from a few weeks ago showed that the “Office of Compliance has paid more than $17 million for 264 settlements and awards to federal employees for violations of various employment rules” since 1997. This includes sexual harassment.

Congress returns to work after the Thanksgiving holiday to immense pressure not only to reveal the causes and people involved in these settlements, but to make the process more transparent.

The grueling process really came to light when BuzzFeed published its report on Conyers. He settled a wrongful dismissal claim in 2015 when a female employee claimed he fired her because she didn’t give into his sexual advances. I blogged last week (emphasis mine):

Without a human resources department, an employee must report sexual harassment to the Office of Compliance within 180 days. This will lead “to a lengthy process involves counseling, mediation, and requires the signing of a confidentiality agreement before a complaint can go forward.”

Once that ends, the employee may opt to take the case to federal district court or it can go to “an administrative hearing, after which a negotiation and settlement may follow.”

Matthew Peterson, the law clerk that represented the woman and “listed as a signatory,” also spoke to BuzzFeed:

The process was “disgusting,” said Matthew Peterson, who worked as a law clerk representing the complainant, and who listed as a signatory to some of the documents.

It is a designed cover-up,” said Peterson, who declined to discuss details of the case but agreed to characterize it in general terms. “You feel like they were betrayed by their government just for coming forward. It’s like being abused twice.”

No one else spoke to BuzzFeed. The Office of Compliance said they cannot make comments on such matters.

A bipartisan group within the House has already started to prepare legislation to change this and put all employees through anti-harassment training. From The New York Times:

In the House, a bipartisan group of lawmakers, led by Representative Jackie Speier, Democrat of California, and Representative Barbara Comstock, Republican of Virginia, is pushing for legislation that would require claims to be handled in public. In the Senate, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, has put forth similar legislation.

“It was a system set up in 1995 to protect the harasser,” Ms. Speier said on the ABC program “This Week,” adding, “We say zero tolerance, but I don’t believe that we put our money where our mouths are.”

Speir told This Week that she spoke to “one victim who called the process ‘almost worse than the harassment.'”

Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) agreed that all these settlements “should be more transparent,” especially since the government uses taxpayer money to settle.

It seems that the legislation will only cover claims starting this year. We do not know if they will unmask those involved in the WaPo report.

However, Speier didn’t call for Conyers to step down. From ABC News:

“I think that the allegations [against Conyers] are very serious and that’s why the ethics committee needs to move very swiftly, not wait 8 years, but very swiftly, staff up if necessary, to determine whether or not those allegations are accurate,” Speier said. “And if they’re accurate, I do believe Congressman Conyers should step down.”

“I think we are innocent until we are proven guilty,” she said.

Only Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY) has called for Conyers to step down:

“I’ve reviewed the allegations against him, and they’re as credible as they are repulsive,” Rice said in a statement. “The women who reported this behavior suffered serious professional repercussions for doing so, which is exactly why so many victims of sexual harassment and assault decide not to step forward.”


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Sunlight=best disinfectant.

all these settlements “should be more transparent,” especially since the government uses taxpayer money to settle.

More transparent? Big deal. In fairness to the poor abused taxpayer (sheeeesh, who isn’t abused nowadays?), we need to make hush money these payments nonexistent. And the way to do that is to stop abusing everyone in sight … which won’t happen. Neither will the “transparency”. Transparency would give the voters a list of names with “D”s and “R”s appended … and one of those parties will fight tooth and nail to keep its institutional history of harassment secret.

Training … that’ll get ‘er fixed.

“…put all employees through anti-harassment training.”

This is just more coverup. Training because these bastards are ignorant? That they don’t know their abuse is wrong?

Put all of this out in the open–the names, the money, the process, and who designed the process and who supervises it. Maybe we can figure out who knows all about this and has kept silent.

I lay this corruption at the alter of the MSM. They should have been real news organization for these past decades but they are just part of the sickening swamp.

Term limits appear to be the only practical solution as all of the other solutions appear to require ethical people.

I recommend the Weinstein Sexual Abuse Recovery Program.

Have the same rules for everyone….

Humphrey's Executor | November 27, 2017 at 12:57 pm

If a CEO of a publicly traded company settles a sexual abuse/discrimination claim, does the SEC require that info to be disclosed publicly?

    I would say yes if it’s the corporation that is paying the money. That would need to be made public for the shareholders to know about it.

    But this is government we are talking about. Nothing should be a secret except classified information.

    Payouts for sexual harassment is not classified information.

Pressured? No it should be forced by the courts. Government hiding taxpayer payouts for settlements of Congress members and their staffs actions should never be secret.

There is no justifiable reason that these payouts are secret.

FOIA’s should be filed immediately by the press.

Was it not Mark Twain who had said that the US congress contained an unusual number of crooks and villains?
Seems this wise old gent knew what he was talking about…

Any bet that Al the Grabby Pal announces that he is going in to alcohol rehab to take care of his PROBLEM and all will be forgiven?

So I have another question, if a women comes to my office dressed sex, does that mean she is sexually abusing me?
How about Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction?
How about the underwear ads in the New York Times? Beer Commercials, TV and Movie previews?

When the dust settles on this mess, we all will be wearing sheets.

I heard today they want to expand the protect class of LBGTQ to even include more. My guess is there is going to be zero standing not protection on sexual orientation in ten years.

I gotta use the preview more:

So I have another question, if a women comes to my office dressed sexy,…..

If one hand washes the other, shouldn’t those who made a career out of sleeping their way to the top (at the expense of those who didn’t), some of which may have made claims and gotten paid thataway too, be “exposed” as well?

The left’s leadership has no concept of shame. Zip. Anything goes.

Which is why their base has so many pedophiles, pervs, molesters, and street criminals and white collar criminals.

Imagine having this discussion only a few years ago?

The horror half our country has become.

Rep. Speier (Democrat, CA) had a McCarthy-esque moment where she claimed to know the identities of other abusers in Congress. The longer she stays quiet, the more women will be victimized.

Doesn’t she care about women?!?

Article I, Section 6, Clause 1, of the U.S. Constitution states in part, for any Speech or Debate in either House, [senators and representatives] shall not be questioned in any other place.

If the actions of representatives and senators isn’t covered by the Speech and Debate Clause, Congress has no reason to be involved. Either way there should be no payouts with taxpayer money.

Congress has secretly given $17 million dollars of our money to the sexually violated victims of their members. Congress also kept secret the names of the violators and won’t allow a Freedom of Information request, so much for transparency.

Before releasing the names of the violators they want to have the Ethics Committee to investigate the cases. The names of the violators, their victims, and the sums involved must be released. No further investigation is necessary. This is a typical stalling action used by politicians.

If there is an investigation, it must be performed by others than congress. Congress can not be trusted to do an unbiased investigation. Members of the Ethics Committee may be those who need to be exposed.

In addition, the violators must pay their victims with their own money. These are some of the scum who need to be drained from the swamp called Congress.