Congress Owes Taxpayers Answers About its Sexual Harassment Secret ‘Shush’ Fund

Congress Owes Taxpayers Answers About its Sexual Harassment Secret ‘Shush’ Fund

Congressmen have a ‘shush’ fund and the American people are paying off their victims.

Accusations of sexual assault have the Hollywood elite on edge wondering who the next high profile target will be. That being said, it was only a matter of time before the spotlight shinned on the high and mighty in Washington DC.

Establishment Democrat and Republicans are demanding that Judge Roy Moore step down from the Alabama Senate race due to the growing allegations against him.

The timing of Moore’s inevitable demise is suspect, at best, but the Congressmen who are calling for him to do the right thing and step down are correct.

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The question is, what will they do when news breaks that taxpayers have been paying off congressional sexual harassment victims for quite some time.

The Hill has the story:

Congress owes taxpayers answers about its harassment ‘shush’ fund

Since when are members of Congress and their staffs accused of sexual harassment allowed to hush up and pay off their accusers from a secret “shush” fund full of taxpayer dollars? Since 1995, it turns out.

But until recently, I did not know about the “shush fund” of Congress, a fund managed by the “Office of Compliance,” which itself was created following the 1995 enactment of the Congressional Accountability Act (CAA), the first law enacted by the first Republican House in four decades…

So the CAA created the “Office of Compliance” to deal with such issues. Complainants begin the dispute resolution process with a mandatory (yes, really) course of counseling that can last up to 30 days. Only after completing the compulsory counseling may a complainant pursue mediation. That, too, can last up to 30 days. If mediation fails to resolve the issue to the complainant’s satisfaction, she or he can then go to an administrative hearing, or file a federal lawsuit.

Here’s the kicker: If the dispute is resolved in favor of the complainant (read: victim), funds for the settlement don’t come out of the offender’s personal bank account, or his or her campaign account. Instead, they come out of a secret account maintained by the Office of Compliance. It is so secret, in fact, that taxpayers don’t even know they are funding it.

According to the Washington Post, there were 235 complainants received compensation totaling $15.2 million between 1997 and 2014. That’s more than one settlement per month for 17 years and nearly $1 million per year. We, the taxpayers, have no idea on whose behalf we’ve been paying to settle these sexual harassment claims. That’s wrong.

The “resolution” system is unfairly rigged to protect the careers of politicians, not to protect vulnerable staffers. That the counseling sessions are mandatory reveals that the objective has little to do with helping the alleged victim, but is instead simply aimed at dissuading the alleged victim from proceeding with a complaint. Leave it to Congress to find a way to insert layers of bureaucracy and paperwork into this “resolution” process.

H/T American Outlook


 

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