In the last week, it has become clear that sexual harassment on Capitol Hill is everywhere. Senator Al Franken of Minnesota admitted to groping two women on different occasions, once in 2006 and another time in 2010 after he was elected to the Senate. However, the most disturbing revelation was that more than 17 million dollars in taxpayer money had been paid to privately settle harassment claims against members of Congress. A report just yesterday showed that Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) settled a sexual harassment claim for $27,111.00 using taxpayer money from the OOC(Office of Compliance).
According a report released by the OOC, between 1997 and 2017 there have been more than 260 harassment cases settled with the money, but the amount related to sexual harassment remains unclear. According to the spokeswoman for Rep. Jackie Speier, who is trying to reform the OOC, said 80% of sexual harassment claims against members of Congress are not reported to the OOC. The settlement process requires victims to never disclose the name of the member of Congress after settlement. This makes it very difficult to identify who was responsible. According to some sources, there are at least two current members of Congress who have settled sexual harassment claims with money from the OOC. It is quite clear that a private agency needs to investigate the use of taxpayer money to settle allegations of harassment by members of Congress.