House Bill Disclosing Past Congressional Sexual Harassment Claims Has No Sponsor in Senate

By Melanie Arter | January 17, 2018 | 7:05 PM EST

U.S. Capitol (Screenshot)

(CNSNews.com) - Rep. Ron DeSantis’s office (R-Fla.) told CNSNews.com that a House bill requiring the disclosure of past congressional sexual harassment claims has no sponsor in the Senate.

The bill Congressional Accountability and Hush Fund Elimination Act was introduced on Nov. 30, 2017 and referred to the House Administration Committee. The bill has bipartisan support with 92 co-sponsors – both Democrats and Republicans.

“We do not yet have a Senate sponsor, but there has been interest. That might be something that we move forward with in the next week or so,” DeSantis spokesperson Elizabeth Fusick told CNSNews.com.

According to a DeSantis’s website, the measure requires “disclosure within 30 calendar days of all settlement payments funded by taxpayers, the reason for the payment and the nature of the allegation, and the member of Congress or congressional staffer implicated in the matter.”

It would also “prohibit the future use of taxpayer dollars to pay sexual harassment and sexual assault claims against members of Congress and staff” and “prohibit members of Congress from using office budgets to camouflage payments.”

Furthermore, it requires “members of Congress and staff that have ever been named in a sexual harassment or sexual assault settlement paid for by taxpayers” to pay the money back to the U.S. Treasury “with interest.”

Anyone who “received an award may make public statements about the claims notwithstanding the terms of a nondisclosure agreement and nondisclosure agreements cannot be made a condition of any future settlements,” according to DeSantis’s website.

House leadership plans to introduce a bill to address the Office of Congressional Compliance, Fusick said.

“We’ve been publicly pushing--- we’ve heard that leadership is gonna as come out with a bill to address the Office of Congressional Compliance, and we’ve been pushing to have our transparency matters included as part of that bill,” Fusick told CNSNews.com.

No word on whether the DeSantis bill will be included in what House leadership does.

Fusick said the prospects of the Congressional Accountability and Hush Fund Elimination Act passing are “good.”

“I think the prospects are good. I think that this is something--- I mean if you look at the co-sponsors on our bill, there’s almost-- you know, it’s widely bipartisan. I think it’s something that both parties can agree on that American taxpayer money shouldn’t be used to settle these sexual assault cases, especially in private,” Fusick said.

When asked whether there have been any payouts to sexual harassment accusers in the Senate, Fusick said, “We just don’t know, which is partly why we need this legislation.”

 


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