With all the establishment Democrat and Republicans calling for Roy Moore to step down from the Alabama Senate race, you have to wonder just whom they are protecting. The timing of the developments in this instance is suspect, at best, but it can’t look good for elected naysayers to squash Moore when news breaks that taxpayers have been paying off congressional sexual harassment victims for quite some time.
Are the swamp creatures afraid of adding yet another corrupt member to their ranks, or are they afraid of adding a whistle blower to the Senate?
The Hill has the story:
Congress owes taxpayers answers about its harassment ‘shush’ fund
Since when are members of Congress and their staffs accused of sexual harassment allowed to hush up and pay off their accusers from a secret “shush” fund full of taxpayer dollars? Since 1995, it turns out.
But until recently, I did not know about the “shush fund” of Congress, a fund managed by the “Office of Compliance,” which itself was created following the 1995 enactment of the Congressional Accountability Act (CAA), the first law enacted by the first Republican House in four decades…
So the CAA created the “Office of Compliance” to deal with such issues. Complainants begin the dispute resolution process with a mandatory (yes, really) 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.
Here’s the kicker: If the dispute is resolved in favor of the complainant (read: victim), 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.
According to the Washington Post, there were 235 complainants received compensation totaling $15.2 million between 1997 and 2014. That’s more than one settlement per month for 17 years and nearly $1 million per year. We, the taxpayers, have no idea on whose behalf we’ve been paying to settle these sexual harassment claims. That’s wrong.
Perhaps the next bill to run to Trump’s desk needs to include a passage that bans congress from enacting any laws they, themselves, are not bound by.