The Secretive, Taxpayer-Financed Settlement Fund Used by Lawmakers Accused of Sexual Harassment


Staffers who are the targets of unwanted sexual advances on Capitol Hill should not have to endure a lengthy mediation process and pay the legal bills as lawmakers secretly draw on a mysterious slush fund to settle the accusations against them, an advocate for taxpayers argues.

In the event of a monetary settlement of sexual harassment complaints, members of Congress can draw on a taxpayer-funded account set up within the Treasury Department to cover their legal expenses and settle cases.

The account has paid out $17 million in the past 10 years, public records show, although it is not clear how much of that was for cases of sexual harassment.

“Right now, it’s very unclear to the taxpayer where this money is going,” Grace Morgan, director of external affairs for the Washington-based Taxpayers Protection Alliance, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview.

“We don’t know who is getting paid the settlements and why they are getting paid the settlements,” Morgan said Monday. “The $17 million figure does not distinguish between sexual harassment claims and other general workplace claims. There is no information and no transparency.”

The spotlight fell on the question of sexual harassment on Capitol Hill after the scandal that brought down …read more