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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 BrooksHouse conservatives want ethics probe into Dems' handling of Kavanaugh allegations Women poised to take charge in Dem majority Hillicon Valley: Officials pressed on Russian interference at security forum | FCC accuses Sinclair of deception | Microsoft reveals Russia tried to hack three 2018 candidates | Trump backs Google in fight with EU | Comcast gives up on Fox bid MORE (R-Ind.) and the panel’s ranking Democrat, Rep. Ted DeutchTheodore (Ted) Eliot DeutchHouse conservatives want ethics probe into Dems' handling of Kavanaugh allegations Reporter tops lawmakers to win charity spelling bee House panels set up to probe indicted GOP Reps. Collins, Hunter 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 HarperGOP lawmakers urge improvements to cyber vulnerabilities resource Bipartisan leaders of House panel press drug companies on opioid crisis Republican chairman wants FTC to review mergers of drug price negotiators 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 campaign aide to New Jersey governor says she was sexually assaulted by his ex-staffer Kavanaugh controversy has led to politicization of 'Me Too,' says analyst Sexual assault is not a game — stop using women to score political points 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.