342K Paid in Settlements/Taxpayers Must Fund Sexual Harassment Training

sex

We all have heard the stories. Sexual harassment, misconduct and discrimination have been par for the course in DC swamp.

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Then came the revelation that it has been taxpayer subsidized for years. Multi-million dollar slush/hush funds, and sealed settlements have prompted interest from the American people to further investigate the illegality on Capitol Hill.

On Tuesday the House Office of Compliance, the taxpayer-funded office that handles the payouts to House employees released a report that shows taxpayers paid more than $342,000 to settle workplace discrimination disputes at House lawmakers’ offices between 2008 and 2012, including nearly $175,000 for eight settlements related to sexual harassment accusations.

A single $84,000 sexual harassment payment was made on behalf of Rep. Blake Farenthold. Farenthood will not be seeking reelection and has pledged to pay back the amount of his settlement.

Over the past few months a half-dozen lawmakers have resigned or refused to seek reelection under circumstances related to misconduct. Reps. Farenthold, Ruben Kihuen and Joe Barton have will not be running in 2018 and Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota and Reps. Trent Franks of Arizona and John Conyers of Michigan have announced their resignations.

On Tuesday, both chambers agreed to adopt mandatory sexual harassment training programs for all members and their staffs. The Committee on House Administration also adopted regulations to implement the training, which will be at least one hour long, cover the prevention of harassment, discrimination and retaliation.

Training and better monitoring is key to the prevention of further instances of this type of misconduct. What other stories may surface in the future and their impact on the 2018 midterms remain to be seen. Stay tuned.

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