Congress Discloses Complete Number, Amount Of Harassment Settlements In Past 20 Years

While it's not surprising that 2007 - the year when spirits were high, housing prices had just hit a record and the financial bubble was about to burst but not yet- was a "swinging one" on the Hill, with a whopping 25 sexual harassment settlements, the most in the past 20 years, we wonder what happened in 2002 when only 10 settlements led to a near record $4 million in awards. This question was prompted by the first ever release of Congressional harassment records, unveiled yesterday for the first time by the Congressional Office of Compliance.

Below is the breakdown of settlement number by year since 1997...

... and the amount quietly paid out in settlement awards:

To be sure, the controversial and sensitive issue of Congressional harassments has taken center stage this week, with female lawmakers making fresh allegations of sexual harassment against unnamed members who are currently in office, and the unveiling of a new bill on Wednesday to change how sexual harassment complaints are reported and resolved. On Thursday, a former Playboy playmate shared her story of being groped and kissed without her consent by Sen. Al Franken in 2006.

And until yesterday, there was little specific data to help illuminate just how pervasive sexual harassment is on Capitol Hill, but finally one figure has emerged: the total that the Office of Compliance, the office that handles harassment complaints, has paid to victims. On Thursday, the Office of Compliance released additional information indicating that it has paid victims more than $17 million since its creation in the 1990s. That includes all settlements, not just related to sexual harassment, but also discrimination and other cases.

According to CNN, an OOC spokeswoman said the office was releasing the extra data "due to the interest in the awards and settlement figures." The OOC has come under fire in recent days for what lawmakers and Hill aides alike say are its antiquated policies that do not adequately protect victims who file complaints. CNN also learned that during the current Congress, no settlement payment approval requests have been made to the congressional committee charged with approving them.

Here's what we know about that money:

When was this money paid out?

According to a report from the Office of Compliance, more than $17 million has been paid out in settlements over a period of 20 years -- 1997 to 2017.

How many settlements have there been?

According to the OOC data released Thursday, there have been 264 settlements. On Wednesday, Rep. Jackie Speier, the California Democrat who unveiled a bill to reform the OOC, announced at a news conference Wednesday that there had been 260 settlements

Where did the settlement money come from?

Taxpayers. Once a settlement is reached, the money is not paid out of an individual lawmaker's office but rather comes out of a special fund set up to handle this within the US Treasury -- meaning taxpayers are footing the bill. The fund was set up by the Congressional Accountability Act, the 1995 law that created the Office of Compliance.

How many of the settlements were sexual harassment-related?

It's not clear. Speier told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday that the 260 settlements represent those related to all kinds of complaints, including sexual harassment as well as racial, religious or disability-related discrimination complaints. The OOC has not made public the breakdown of the settlements, and Speier says she's pursuing other avenues to find out the total.

In its latest disclosure, the OOC said that statistics on payments are "not further broken down into specific claims because settlements may involve cases that allege violations of more than one of the 13 statutes incorporated by the (Congressional Accountability Act)."

Who knows about the settlements and payments?

After a settlement is reached, a payment must be approved by the chairman and ranking member of the House administration committee, an aide to Chairman Gregg Harper, a Mississippi Republican, told CNN.
The aide also said that "since becoming chair of the committee, Chairman Harper has not received any settlement requests." Harper became chairman of the panel at the beginning of this year. It's not clear how many other lawmakers -- if any -- in addition to the House administration committee's top two members are privy to details about the settlements and payments.

A source in House Speaker Paul Ryan's office told CNN that Ryan is not made aware of the details of harassment settlements. That source also said that the top Democrat and Republican on the House administration committee review proposed settlements and both must approve the payments. Similarly, a source in Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's office told CNN that Pelosi also is not made aware of those details, and that they are confined to the parties of the settlement and the leaders of the administration committee. "Leader Pelosi has expressed support for the efforts of Rep. Speier who is working on multiple bills to reform the secretive and woefully inadequate process," the source added.

When asked about Ryan's knowledge of any sexual harassment settlements, a spokesperson for Ryan's office noted that the committee is conducting a full review of workplace harassment and discrimination.
What do these settlements tell us about the scope of the sexual harassment problem on Capitol Hill?

It is unclear how much of the $17 million is money paid to sexual harassment cases because of the Office of Compliance's complex reporting process. However, even knowing that dollar figure doesn't quantify the problem: a source within the Office of Compliance tells CNN that between 40 and 50% of harassment claims settle after mediation -- an early stage in the multi-tiered reporting process.

And the number of settlements reached may not be indicative of how widespread sexual harassment is, as many victims chose not to proceed with OOC's process for handling complaints. Tracy Manzer, a spokeswoman for Speier, told CNN last week 80% of people who have come to their office with stories of sexual misconduct in the last few weeks have chosen not to report the incidents to the OOC.

* * *

Now if only we could find out just what happened in 2002 to make that year such an outlier in terms of settlement awards... although we have the feeling the Bill Clinton may somehow be involved.


FreeNewEnergy jcaz Fri, 11/17/2017 - 09:07 Permalink

I'm with jcaz. Fuck THAT^^.I'll take it a step further, since these "elected officials" are all acting like children, let's treat them like such.I want to know the exact details of where our money went, and every congressman/woman who committed an act of sexual harassment, discrimination, or otherwise settled with an accuser, MUST come out in public and resign.ALL OF THEM.If none come forward, then all are responsible and all MUST resign.Honestly, we'd be better off without any congress at all. Let the president issue executive orders to enforce or effectively repeal all federal laws, rules, and regulations.You want MAGA. I want MAGA. Get the corrupt, overpaid, dishonest congress out of the way, and take the NFL with them.Sick of all this. If ever any federal agent comes looking for money or compliance from me, they'll get an earful, and if that's not enough, maybe some buckshot will convince them that I'm not playing any more (haven't since 1999, anyhow).Fuck this bullshit. Stand up, Americans. Demand justice. Start by not paying taxes. Take maximum exemptions on your W-2 or whatever they're using these days to screw you.Stop paying and they might get the message.

In reply to by jcaz

Chupacabra-322 RockySpears Fri, 11/17/2017 - 09:51 Permalink

Want to see the Mecca & Center of Pedophilia, Child & human trafficking & sexual abuse?

Walk the halls of these Pure Evil War Criminal Treasonous Seditious Psychopaths in CONgress.

Pure Flith.

All the Hollyweird sex abuse scandals breaking daily is low information, low hanging fruit to distract.

What these Pure Vile Evil Psychopaths will not reveal are themselves in Congress is The Elite level Pedo / human trafficking they’re involved or associated in.

In reply to by RockySpears

LightBeamCowboy BennyBoy Fri, 11/17/2017 - 12:14 Permalink

If I was a shapely young woman, knowing these payout amounts, I'd definitely get a job in Congress. Without even an overt come-on I'd have one of these pervs dry-humping my leg in no time, and have my year-long luxury vacation on a nice beach already planned out for departure as soon as the check arrives.

In reply to by BennyBoy

chunga Seasmoke Fri, 11/17/2017 - 08:24 Permalink

The nerve of these people is something else. Imagine anywhere else besides US congress where confidential groping settlements are included in the compensation.Most of these gropers are probably married too. They can't keep a single solemn with their spouse yet they'll uphold the constition.What a depraved, despicable bunch.

In reply to by Seasmoke

JelloBeyonce jamesmmu Fri, 11/17/2017 - 12:15 Permalink

You should consider reading Jay Cost's "A Republic No More", if you haven't. In it, he details how most Congressional Committee hearings are just dog & pony shows...especially since the advent of media outlets like CNN.  The mindless masses just need stupefying entertainment convincing them that members of Congress are "doing something".  However, after most of these hearings, nothing changes.  The entertainment-hungry masses are satiated with the hearings, with few ever bothering to follow-up on results or actions, they forget and/or lose interest.......which is lucky for Congress, as results or actions are few & far between. The "people" have no one to blame but themselves.......for their grand ignorance, and failure to adequately engage in, supervise and control the political process.

In reply to by jamesmmu

Seasmoke Fri, 11/17/2017 - 08:05 Permalink

Just as the taxpayers pay for police brutality.  They pay for the assholes. That's exactly why nothing ever changes from the public parasites. Get rid of the Government. They don't speak for us !!!!

insanelysane Fri, 11/17/2017 - 08:07 Permalink

FOIA requests in 3...2...1We need to know who was doing the harassing and what discipline they receive.We all know what the discipline is, better committee assignments.

War Machine Fri, 11/17/2017 - 08:08 Permalink

Jackie Speier is both beautiful and brave.

Her, teeth, however, have been locked in deadly struggle with each other since the '30s.

Why not have Mueller look into Congressional rape and kid fucking?

There seems to be no limit to the ambit of his investigation... except anything Clinton-related of course.

TheFederalistPapers Fri, 11/17/2017 - 08:09 Permalink

First, list the names of all the members of Congress involved in any settlements - not - the victimsSecond, close the fund Third, shoot the members of Congress that signed off on these settlementsSolved it for you...

otschelnik Fri, 11/17/2017 - 08:09 Permalink

Time for congress to come clean and name names. Let's get it all out in the open.   Wooiie!  Nothing so interesting as this has happened since ways and means chairman Wilbur Mills (D-AK) got in a fight with stripper Fannie Foxe and she tried to drown herself in the Tidal Basin.  

insanelysane Fri, 11/17/2017 - 08:10 Permalink

I am sure they are using the Bill Clinton strategy of saying that a sitting President cannot face lawsuits.  They are just extending this to sitting Senators and Reps.  The Court back in the Clinton days wasn't buying this strategy but the Supreme Court today has all partisan asshats who no doubt brokered an agreement to protect elected federal officials in the single party called the RNC-DNC.

Philanthropocalypse Rex Andrus Fri, 11/17/2017 - 15:12 Permalink

I can take or leave Monty, but... getting to YouTube, I was presented with choices on the right side panel, including videos with "ASMR" attached to the poster's profile name. ASMR has nothing to do with Monty (I think), but everyhing to do with "much too touchy" Congress-persons, and with a bunch of the hyper-moralist commentors here on the 'Hedge.I encourage any and all, to do a little research on the vaunted "ASMR" phenomenon."bro, do you even ASMR...?" 

In reply to by Rex Andrus

Arrest Hillary Arrest Hillary Fri, 11/17/2017 - 08:20 Permalink

Has the US gov spent .00001% of the Ponzi loot on quietly acquiring more gold for the people .... like China, Russia, Turkey, every body is doing .... we dumped the people's gold .... and manipulate the markets .... the thrifty American workers have to hoard the gold privately .... which may be confiscated in the future .... it's another tax on the "Taxpayers" .... they have to pay for everything .... and fund the nation's rainy day reserves .... just to make it fair ?

In reply to by Arrest Hillary

silverer Fri, 11/17/2017 - 08:14 Permalink

Trump talked about pussy. But who will ask him for a settlement? It will be known as the ghost pussy settlement, as the real one doesn't exist. In the meantime, did Bill Clinton just ticket up again for the Lolita Express? Not a peep from the Dem perps on that one.

wmbz Fri, 11/17/2017 - 08:15 Permalink

Al Farken just one of hundreds of libtard perverts in the cesspool, ruling over the serfs.Al is so fucking ugly he makes Henry Waxmen look like Fabio.

shankster Fri, 11/17/2017 - 08:17 Permalink

The very ones you place in charge to make laws and force rules and regulations on us are most corrupt and vile..but sheeple are sheeple and you will heed their commands and worship them and stay in your pens, just like you always do and always have.