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 BrooksDemocrat Christina Hale and Republican Victoria Spartz to face off in House race in Indiana Key races to watch in Tuesday's primaries The Hill's Campaign Report: More Republican women are running for House seats MORE (R-Ind.) and the panel’s ranking Democrat, Rep. Ted DeutchTheodore (Ted) Eliot DeutchUS lawmakers call on EU to label entire Hezbollah a terrorist organization 189 House Democrats urge Israel to 'reconsider' annexation Partisan divide on annexation complicates US-Israel relationship 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 HarperCongress sends bill overhauling sexual harassment policy to Trump's desk Dems cry foul in undecided N.C. race Mississippi New Members 2019 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 ConyersFormer impeachment managers clash over surveillance bill VA could lead way for nation on lower drug pricing The Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems release first transcripts from impeachment probe witnesses 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.