The sexual avalanche from the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment has spilled over to the political arena. With the drama only our government can provide with secret slush fund and the stealth to conceal the identity of the perpetrator under the CCA.
Rep. Jackie Speier, a vocal advocate for victims of sexual harassment, says a congressional body that oversees sexual harassment complaints on Capitol Hill is an “enabler” of such cases.
“We have a system in place that allows for the harassment to go unchecked. Doesn’t pay for the settlement himself and is never identified. So the Office of Compliance, to which a victim must apply or complain, is a place that has really been an enabler of sexual harassment for these many years because of the way it’s constructed,” said Speier, D-California.
So the CAA Congressional Accountability Act created the “Office of Compliance” to deal with sexual harassment issues. Complainants begin the dispute resolution process with a mandatory course of counseling that can last up to 30 days. Only after completing the compulsory counseling may a complainant pursue mediation. That, too, can last up to 30 days. If mediation fails to resolve the issue to the complainant’s satisfaction, she or he can then go to an administrative hearing, or file a federal lawsuit.
If the dispute is resolved in favor of the complainant, funds for the settlement don’t come out of the offender’s personal bank account, or his or her campaign account. Instead, they come out of a secret account maintained by the Office of Compliance. It is so secret, in fact, that taxpayers don’t even know they are funding it.
In the last 20 years there has been payment of over 17 Million dollars made from this secret Congressional slush fund as illustrated in the chart below.
|Fiscal Year||Number of settlements||Amount paid|
Paul Ryan issued a statement saying, “Going forward, the House will adopt a policy of mandatory anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training for all Members and staff.”
This may be a start but I cannot believe that it toke Congress this long to institute a sexual harassment policy. They real do live in a bubble such policies have been in the private sector for years. Nothing will change until the CCA is changed. How many more claims would have come forward if it wasn’t for this ludicrous process. Every member of congress is complacent accepting this kind of behavior in their house. Because the way the CAA was written it foster and protect unacceptable behavior. It is a way for Congress to pat themselves on the back and really do nothing to address the problem. We need to know names of these perpetrators. The government needs to stop paying hush money for unacceptable behavior. Government people need to be held accountable for inappropriate behavior. There needs to be a zero tolerance for sexual harassment. Congress needs to take sexual harassment seriously.