The Congressional swamp has surrounded itself with a legal apparatus known as the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995. This law is designed to protect sex offenders in the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and other federal agencies from public scrutiny. Congress has also been funding a U.S. Treasury account to pay off claims for congressional acts of sexual harassment and other discrimination claims.
Until recently, the political establishment on both sides of the aisle has kept the morally problematic aspects of the law from the public.
Current U.S. Senators who voted for the bill in 1995 include (see House members at bottom):
The Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 willfully created the ability of Congress and other employees under the jurisdiction of the Office of Compliance (OOC) to have their acts of sexual harassment and related settlements concealed from the taxpayer.
As an act of government responsibility, accountability, and transparency, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan should release the names of Congressional members and other employees who remediated and settled sexual harassment claims under the OOC, along with the amount of claims paid from the U.S. Treasury.
During President Bill Clinton’s first administration, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) sponsored the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995. This legislation created the political apparatus for members of Congress to cloak sexual harassment settlements in a shroud of secrecy. The bill was introduced on January 4, fast-tracked through the Senate and the House, and signed into law by Pres. Clinton on January 23.
(Below, see the existing members of Congress who voted for this bill as well as a video of the press conference led by Sen. Grassley the day before he presented the bill.)
The United States Congress Office of Compliance (OOC - also established by the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995) oversees and manages the dispute resolution program where sexual harassment claims are made. Federal employees in the legislative branch who claim they have been sexually harassed by a member of Congress are legally required to first go through up to 30 days of counseling.
The OOC states that “skilled mediators” are able to counsel the alleged victim, and that “most cases are resolved in confidential mediation.” The OCC Board also issues legal rulings if there is a financial settlement due to sexual harassment by a member of Congress, but any financial settlement reached by the OCC must be finally approved by the chairmen and ranking member of the House Administration committee. The current chairman is Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS) who would approve disbursements from the U.S. Treasury. These treasury funds are your tax dollars and are being used to pay the penalty of Congress for acts of sexual deviancy.
If a secretary or other staff personnel has been traumatized by a member of Congress and files a sexual harassment claim with the OCC, then Congress first legally requires the alleged victim go through counseling before remedying the situation. The allegation either happened or it didn’t. Why require a sexual harassment claimant up to 30 days counseling before being able to confront the alleged member of Congress?
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (WI-R) should release the names of congressional sex offenders, and the Senate and House body should remove from office those federal employees, senators and representatives included.
The Senate passed the bill (98-1) with one senator not voting. The House of Representatives voted (390-0) with 44 not voting.
Current U.S. Representatives who voted for the bill in 1995 include: