Over the past few weeks, numerous sexual misconduct allegations have come out against members of Congress. One of the most shocking revelations to come from this is that many congressmen have been using taxpayer funds to pay off their accusers. Now, a plan has been launched to stop this practice for good.
Momentum is building fast in Congress to ban the use of taxpayer money to settle sexual harassment cases — particularly after news that a total of well over $100,000 has been paid in recent cases against lawmakers.
Prohibiting such settlements is proving to be a popular idea among fiscal conservatives and liberal Democrats alike as Congress grapples with how to reform its complicated workplace policies.
Taxpayers were revealed to be responsible for thousands of dollars’ worth of settlements in cases involving sexual harassment allegations against Reps. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) and Blake Farenthold (R-Texas), as well as ex-Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.). Still more cases could emerge.
BuzzFeed reported that Conyers settled a wrongful dismissal suit for more than $27,000 in 2015 with a female former aide who said she was fired because she wouldn’t succumb to his sexual advances. Conyers denied wrongdoing and said he settled the case to avoid protracted litigation.
Taxpayer money also funded a $84,000 settlement between Farenthold, who was accused of harassment by a female former aide in 2014, according to Politico. The Office of Congressional Ethics investigated the staffer’s allegations, but informed the House Ethics Committee that there was “not substantial reason to believe” the accusations.
ABC News further revealed that nearly $100,000 was paid to settle sexual harassment claims from at least two young male aides to Massa, who resigned in 2010 amid an ethics investigation of allegations that he groped and sexually harassed his staff.
Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) first introduced legislation last month that includes a provision requiring lawmakers accused of harassment to reimburse taxpayers for settlements. The Office of Compliance, which handles the harassment reporting process, would have to publish the names of offices involved in cases with settlements and the monetary amounts on its website.
It is ironic that Democrats are now hyper-concerned about sexual predators after spending decades supporting and defending Bill Clinton. When Republicans tried to point out at the time how perverted the former president was, Democrats pooh-poohed their concerns.
Regardless of the irony, however, it is heartening to see that members of Congress are cracking down on this issue once and, hopefully, for all. There's absolutely no reason that American taxpayers should be forced to spend their hard-earned money dealing with politicians' perversions.
The Left constantly pushes for an increase taxes, yet Americans' tax dollars are then used for ridiculous reasons like this.