REUTERS

As Sexual Harassment Claims Become Exposed, Congress Tries to Pick Up the Pieces

As the latest round of sexual harassment allegations has focused less on the creative/media sector and set its sights on Capitol Hill, Congress is scrambling to update policies that tend to cloak our elected public servants in shadows of anonymity and privacy.


From former Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota and former Rep. John Conyers, to conservatives like Roy Moore and Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas), the atmosphere in the nation’s most important chambers seems more like a fraternity house than halls of legislation. So why haven’t we heard of these sordid accounts until now The short answer is that we have been paying to keep these acts a secret, from ourselves.

After The Washington Post confirmed on Friday that Farenthold used a little known Treasury fund that is overseen by the congressional Office of Compliance to pay an $84,000 settlement with a former aide that sued him for sexual harassment in November 2014, more information is coming to light about taxpayer money being used in settlements like Farenthold’s. According to Politico, the Office of Compliance has paid out $17 million in taxpayer money to settle 264 claims over the past 20 years.

This secret fund is not the sole method in which we the people have been stuck with the legal bills of our representatives. Conyers used his own office budget to settle his lawsuits. Conyers, 88, announced his resignation — which he emphasized is a retirement — earlier this week. He was the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives and a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

We don’t know how often this method is employed as it is difficult to track.

As Congress has tried to put a Band-Aid on this black mark, Sen. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) alluded to a moral responsibility: “I believe that Congress should be not the gold standard but the platinum standard. We should be a beacon on a hill to say that sexual harassment or harassment of any kind is not acceptable in the workplace anywhere.”

The Ethics Committee, led by Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) and Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), put in a request to the Office of Compliance last Friday for records of any hearings or discussion pertaining to this matter. According to The Post, it is uncertain if Brooks and Deutch will make the records available to the public “or use the information to investigate lawmakers who have been accused of misconduct.”

The committee claims and promises it will review the matter.

Read more news @ DiversityInc.com

Latest News

Three BASF Women Leaders Honored at the Manufacturing Institute’s 2021 STEP Ahead Awards

Originally published at basf.com. BASF ranked No. 12 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Three BASF leaders in manufacturing were among 130 women recognized nationally at The Manufacturing Institute’s ninth annual STEP Ahead Awards. Focusing on science, technology, engineering and production (STEP), the program recognizes women…

Wells Fargo Pledges $1 Million to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund for HBCU Seniors

Originally published at newsroom.wf.com. Wells Fargo ranked No. 25 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Wells Fargo and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) are teaming up to help close the graduation gap for college seniors attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The $1 million Thurgood Marshall…

Hershey Employees and Retirees in the US and Canada Pledged More Than $900,000 in 2021 To Support Nonprofit Organizations

Originally published on LinkedIn. The Hershey Company ranked No. 10 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.    Each year, our Season of Giving campaign encourages Hershey employees to make a difference by supporting nonprofit organizations which they find to be meaningful. Employees and retirees in…

Creating Windows and Mirrors: Hershey’s Amber Murayi on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the ‘World’s Top Female-Friendly Company’

Amber Murayi is the Hershey Company’s Senior Director of Enterprise Strategy & Business Model Innovation & Co-lead of the Women’s Business Resource Group. The Hershey Company ranked No. 10 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.    My position affords me a unique view of DEI…

book banning

American Library Association Documents 155 Attempts at Banning Books About POC or LGBTQ Issues in the Last 6 Months

In a depressing turn for anyone who thought society may have outgrown book burning or censorship of books over the last 100 years, it appears the hate-filled phenomenon is back on the rise, increasing with alarming frequency across the country. CNN’s Nicole Chavez has reported the American Library Association “has…