Congress Has Used Taxpayer Funds To Settle 260 Harassment Lawsuits

The U.S. Congress has paid over $17.2 million dollars in settlements and awards due to harassment by members of Congress. All settlements and awards were paid with taxpayer money. (image credit: Dennis Hastert/House.Gov)

The U.S. Congress has paid over $17.2 million dollars in settlements and awards due to harassment by members of Congress. All settlements and awards were paid with taxpayer money.

Congressional Office of Compliance releases year-by-year breakdown of harassment settlements and awards:

Sexual harassment is rampant in Congress.

Two things have become painfully clear on Capitol Hill this week: Lawmakers and staffers say sexual harassment is "rampant" -- but even members of Congress have no idea just how widespread the problem is.

Taxpayers paid for these settlements.

Taxpayers. Once a settlement is reached, the money is not paid out of an individual lawmaker's office but rather comes out of a special fund set up to handle this within the US Treasury -- meaning taxpayers are footing the bill. The fund was set up by the Congressional Accountability Act, the 1995 law that created the Office of Compliance.

What type of harassment do these lawsuits cover?

Speier told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday that the 260 settlements represent those related to all kinds of complaints, including sexual harassment as well as racial, religious or disability-related discrimination complaints. The OOC has not made public the breakdown of the settlements, and Speier says she's pursuing other avenues to find out the total.

Comments