Ethics panel asks for details of past harassment cases against serving lawmakers

Ethics panel asks for details of past harassment cases against serving lawmakers
© Greg Nash

The House Ethics Committee is asking the office tasked with handling workplace complaints on Capitol Hill to turn over records about allegations against current lawmakers and staff.

In a letter from Chairwoman Susan BrooksSusan Wiant BrooksPress shuts out lawmakers to win congressional softball game Indiana shooting ‘hero’ released from hospital Senate harassment bill runs into opposition from House MORE (R-Ind.) and the panel’s ranking Democrat, Rep. Ted DeutchTheodore (Ted) Eliot DeutchGOP congressional candidate tells Parkland father to stop 'exploiting' his daughter's death Senate harassment bill runs into opposition from House House Dems want to hire Parkland students for the summer MORE (Fla.), on Friday, the Ethics Committee requested “all records in the possession of the Office of Compliance related to any claims of sexual harassment, discrimination, retaliation or any other employment practice” involving current lawmakers and House employees.

The letter noted that the Congressional Accountability Act, which establishes Capitol Hill’s workplace policies, “expressly provides” that the Office of Compliance provide the House and Senate Ethics committees with access to records of its hearings and decisions.

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The Office of Compliance recently released data showing that more than $17 million in taxpayer dollars has been paid out in settlements involving Capitol Hill employees. That total includes allegations of sexual harassment, racial discrimination and other workplace violations.

House Administration Committee Chairman Gregg HarperGregory (Gregg) Livingston HarperLawmakers press Apple, Google on data collection Senate harassment bill runs into opposition from House GOP lawmaker calls on US Olympic Committee chief to resign MORE (R-Miss.) told Republicans at a conference meeting Friday that he will provide more detailed information about taxpayer money paid in settlements regarding sexual harassment claims, according to lawmakers in the room.

The House Ethics Committee is already investigating sexual harassment allegations against Rep. John ConyersJohn James ConyersPortland activist stages ‘reparations happy hour’ Conyers III won't appear on primary ballot in race to replace his father Conyers's son in danger of missing ballot in Michigan MORE Jr. (D-Mich.). BuzzFeed reported that Conyers had agreed to settle a wrongful dismissal claim from a former female staffer who alleged she was fired because she resisted his sexual advances.

The staffer was paid more than $27,000 out of Conyers's office budget in the form of severance payments.