Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) mentioned Tuesday that the House has paid out $15 million in harassment settlements over greater than a decade, although a spokesperson later clarified that determine doesn’t solely account for sexual harassment claims.
“One member of Congress has settled a claim and there has been a taxpayer settlement,” Speier instructed Chuck Todd on NBC’s “MTP Daily.”
“We do know that there’s about $15 million that has been paid out by the House on behalf of harassers within the final 10 to 15 years,” she added.
A spokesperson for Speier later clarified to The Hill that the $15 million determine supplied by the Office of Compliance (OOC) utilized to all varieties of complaints dealt with by the workplace within the fiscal interval between 1997 and 2016. These embody not simply complaints referring to sexual harassment, but additionally to complaints relating to racial and non secular discrimination, in addition to discrimination towards folks with disabilities, in keeping with the spokesperson.
“The OOC doesn’t at the moment present any breakdown for the kind of discrimination funds made, the quantities of particular person funds, and even the places of work that the complaints generate from,” the spokesperson mentioned in a press release.
The Office of Compliance (OOC) is answerable for dealing with sexual harassment complaints and settlements. Once a settlement is reached, the cash doesn’t come from particular person members’ places of work however is as a substitute paid out of a particular fund operated by the Treasury Department.
Speier’s feedback come amid elevated reviews of sexual harassment within the office, together with on Capitol Hill. Multiple feminine members of Congress have come ahead saying they’ve been victims of sexual harassment, prompting lawmakers to name for reform.
Sources within the workplace instructed CNN that whereas the OOC does compile a report on the variety of awards and settlements paid out of the fund annually, it’s not damaged down by settlement kind – that means sexual harassment settlements are lumped in with different office instances like again pay and compensatory damages for financial reporting.
A congressional aide instructed CNN that the Treasury has paid out $15 million in complete settlements since 1997, but it surely was unclear how a lot of that cash had been paid in sexual harassment instances.
Speier’s workplace did not instantly return a request to make clear whether or not the $15 million determine she cited for sexual harassment instances included cash spent relating to normal office violations.
Rep. Bradley ByrneBradley Roberts ByrneOvernight Regulation: House passes invoice to overturn joint-employer rule | Trump officers to permit work necessities for Medicaid | Lawmakers ‘alarmed’ by EPA’s science board adjustments House passes invoice to overturn controversial joint-employer ruling Overnight Finance: GOP criticism of tax invoice grows, however few no votes | Highlights from day two of markup | House votes to overturn joint-employer rule | Senate panel approves North Korean banking sanctions MORE (R-Ala.), who practiced employment legislation earlier than serving within the House, really useful in testimony earlier than the Administration Committee on Tuesday that lawmakers accused of harassment ought to personally repay the Treasury for settlements.
Speier mentioned at a Tuesday listening to that two present members of Congress, one Republican and one Democrat, have been accused of sexual harassment.
Meanwhile, Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanGOP rep: Virginia defeat ‘a referendum’ on Trump administration After Texas taking pictures, lawmakers query whether or not navy has systemic reporting drawback Pence: Praying ‘takes nothing away’ from making an attempt to determine causes behind mass taking pictures MORE (R-Wis.) introduced Tuesday afternoon that he would require all House members and workers to bear anti-harassment coaching.
Speier mentioned that taxpayers ought to have the proper to know if they’re funding sexual harassment payouts, however that the present system doesn’t enable for such transparency.
She mentioned that going ahead she hopes Congress will change the system, however that previous settlements shouldn’t be meddled with.
“I don’t know that we will retroactively cope with it as a result of that’s a contract that’s been signed by each events,” she mentioned.
This story was up to date at 11:40 pm to incorporate the clarification from Rep. Speier’s spokesperson.