At least $600,000 in public money has been spent over the past 20 years to settle 13 workplace misconduct claims against senators' offices, including $14,260 for a single settlement alleging sex discrimination, according to data released late Thursday.The information on workplace harassment payouts from a fund maintained by Capitol Hill's Office of Compliance, divulged by the Senate Rules and Appropriations Committees, does not include any details on which offices the payments correspond to. Its release came as the Rules panel, led by Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), faced pressure from both sides of the aisle to join the House in opening the upper chamber's taxpayer-funded settlement books amid a national outcry over sexual harassment.The Senate’s single claim of sex discrimination in the data released late Thursday included no data on whether sexual harassment was involved — the two have generally not been distinguished in congressional misconduct record keeping. Senators' offices paid $21,420 to settle two claims involving racial discrimination, $89,800 to settle three claims involving disability discrimination, and $286,786 to settle eight claims that involved age discrimination, according to the data.One of those age-related claims was a single $102,904 settlement that also involved discrimination based on national origin and reprisal, the largest single settlement paid out since 1997 from a senator's office. Congressional office misconduct claims filed with the compliance office can touch on multiple categories of harassment.The two committees' representatives said in a statement accompanying the information that aides had met with the Senate Legal Counsel's office to verify that the data could be released to the public without compromising the identity of harassment victims who participated in a confidential settlement process. “While the Rules Committee has been eager to provide this information in a transparent manner, it has been our priority to protect the victims involved in these settlements from further harm," Shelby said.The House released its own harassment settlement data for the past five years earlier this month, including an $84,000 sexual harassment settlement that POLITICO later linked to Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas). After Sen. Tim Kaine's (D-Va.) attempt to obtain similar Senate information was rejected earlier this week, however, the House released further data on past harassment settlements and Shelby escalated consultations with colleagues on releasing the upper chamber's figures."This is the first step toward a more transparent reporting system for harassment in Congress to hold people accountable for their actions," Kaine said in a statement on the Rules and Appropriations Committees' release of the data.The data released Thursday also includes workplace settlement figures for other Senate offices not led by a member. Over the past 20 years, those offices have paid out $853,225 to resolve 10 settlements, including $56,000 to resolve three claims involving sex discrimination.The statistics for both the Senate and House include only claims paid from the compliance office's fund set aside for handling workplace misconduct and do not encompass settlements that may have been paid from lawmakers' taxpayer-funded office budgets. Former Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), for example, used his office budget to pay $27,000 in 2015 to settle a sexual harassment claim brought by a former aide.A senior Republican member of the Rules panel who's closely involved in negotiations on reforming Hill harassment policy, West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito said earlier Thursday that she supports the release of the Senate harassment settlement data because “transparency is the best way to figure out how to handle situations, and the American people want to know.”“We could mirror the way the House has done it, without full disclosure, but even then I think people are going to keep asking the question” of which members may be tied to settlements, Capito added. “I would.”
Pressure is on the office that handles harassment claims and a top GOP senator to come clean on sexual harassment payouts involving Senate offices.
Democrats don’t need inspiration or revolution to win in 2020. They just need somebody bland and inoffensive. Kind of like Doug Jones.
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) spoke to reporters on Dec. 19 about the Office of Compliance's decision to deny him data on sexual harassment claims filed in the Senate.
Hours after the House passed a sweeping $1.5 trillion tax bill, the Senate parliamentarian found that provisions of the bill violated the chamber’s Byrd rule.
‘EVERY. VOTE. MATTERS.,’ Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine tweeted.
Congress' workplace misconduct office won't share data with the senator because of concerns with "inaccuracies."
The secretive office that processes workplace misconduct complaints on Capitol Hill has declined Sen. Tim Kaine's equest for data on sexual harassment claims filed in the upper chamber — data that Kaine had said he would make public.The Virginia Democrat sought details Dec. 6 on the taxpayer-funded settlements that the Hill's Office of Compliance approved for Senate employers, adding that he would release the broad outlines of the data in the interest of transparency as Congress considers an overhaul of its own harassment system. The compliance office's Monday decision to decline his request is particularly notable given that the office provided the House Administration Committee details on taxpayer-funded settlements processed in that chamber one day after they were requested.In a letter responding to Kaine's request, the compliance office's executive director said "confidentiality provisions" of the 1995 law that created the Hill's workplace misconduct system prevented a detailed response.The current structure of the law means that "the OOC does not possess reliable information regarding the number of sexual harassment claims that have been filed or settled, the identities or positions of the individuals alleged to have committed sexual harassment, or why the parties reached settlements," Susan Tsui Grundmann wrote to Kaine.Grundmann stated that the Senate Rules Committee received "a statistical breakdown of settlement amounts" stemming from Senate offices dating back to 1997. A spokeswoman for the Rules panel, which did not follow its House counterpart in publicly releasing harassment settlement data, did not immediately return a request for comment. Kaine's original request asked for broad totals of Senate sexual harassment claims filed and resolved, along with settlement amounts, "which should not breach any confidentiality agreement between the parties or the identities of the survivors and the accused." Grundmann's letter declining his request also referred Kaine to the Secretary of the Senate, noting that "we would not necessarily know about" any harassment settlements paid using accounts other than the compliance office's separate settlement fund. Recently resigned Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), for example, used his personal office budgets to settle a sexual misconduct claim in 2015 — a strategy that the House ethics committee has no formal policy prohibiting.“If Congress truly wants to fix a broken system, we need to understand the scope of the problem," Kaine said in a statement. "I’m disappointed the OOC didn’t release any information to help us do that. I’m going to keep pushing for public release of this data and working on reforms that help prevent harassment and assault.”
After Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) announced on Dec. 7 that he will resign amid allegations of sexual harassment, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said that “it’s a very sad day, but the behavior was inappropriate.”
Sen. Tim Kaine and two Senate committees are seeking records on allegations involving senators and their aides.
Ahead of a post-election report from a commission meant to foster party unity, we found a lot of disagreement—and some pockets of consensus.
A wave of Democratic officials called on Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) to resign Wednesday over numerous allegations of sexual misconduct.Here is the full list:Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York:"While Senator Franken is entitled to have the Ethics Committee conclude its review, I believe it would be better for our country if he sent a clear message that any kind of mistreatment of women in our society isn’t acceptable by stepping aside to let someone else serve," Gillibrand said in a Facebook post.Sen. Marie Hirono of Hawaii:"Today, I am calling on my colleague Al Franken to step aside. I’ve struggled with this decision because he’s been a good Senator and I consider him a friend. But that cannot excuse his behavior and his mistreatment of women," Hirono wrote on Twitter. Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri:Al Franken should resign.— Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc) December 6, 2017Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire: It is clear that Al Franken has engaged in a pattern of egregious and unacceptable behavior toward women. He should resign.— Sen. Maggie Hassan (@SenatorHassan) December 6, 2017Sen. Kamala Harris of California:Sexual harassment and misconduct should not be allowed by anyone and should not occur anywhere. I believe the best thing for Senator Franken to do is step down.— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) December 6, 2017Sen. Patty Murray of Washington:It’s time for us as elected representatives to hold ourselves to a higher standard, to set an example, and to live a set of values that is truly representative and worthy of the Congress, our democracy, and our great country.— Senator Patty Murray (@PattyMurray) December 6, 2017Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin: I believe it is best for Senator Franken to resign.— Sen. Tammy Baldwin (@SenatorBaldwin) December 6, 2017Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania: I agree with my colleagues who have stepped forward today and called on Senator Franken to resign. We can’t just believe women when it’s convenient.— Senator Bob Casey (@SenBobCasey) December 6, 2017Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana: Joe is calling for Senator Franken to resign. pic.twitter.com/ff5i1rnhJs— Senator Joe Donnelly (@SenDonnelly) December 6, 2017Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio: I have listened to them. I have listened to my female colleagues, to women I work with and women in my life. And I agree the time has come for Senator Franken to step aside.— Sherrod Brown (@SenSherrodBrown) December 6, 2017Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan:Sexual harassment is unacceptable. I believe Senator Franken should do the right thing and resign.— Sen. Debbie Stabenow (@SenStabenow) December 6, 2017Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota: We must commit to zero tolerance – which is where I believe we as a country and Congress should be – and that means Senator Franken should step down. Full statement: pic.twitter.com/4qrZB0mBTo— Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (@SenatorHeitkamp) December 6, 2017Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts: I join my colleagues in calling for Senator Franken to step aside and resign. Sexual harassment is unacceptable, completely inappropriate and cannot be tolerated.— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) December 6, 2017Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado: Sexual harassment and misconduct are never acceptable. I understand Senator Franken will make an announcement tomorrow morning, and I'm confident he'll do the right thing and step aside.— Michael F. Bennet (@SenBennetCO) December 6, 2017
The Minnesota senator plans to make an announcement on Thursday.
Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) on Nov. 30 commented on reports that the White House has a plan to oust Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
**Note to Self**: This is your reminder: * 178.4 **180.8** million people are represented by the 48 **49** senators who caucus with the Democrats. * 144.1 **141.7** million people are represented by the 52 **51** senators who caucus with the Republicans. * 65.9 million people voted for Hillary Rodham Clinton and Tim Kaine to be their president and vice president * 63.0 million people voted for Donald Trump and Mike Pence to be their president and vice president.