In case you forgot: Congress paid millions in hush money to protect politicians

For all those Democrats and the MSM seeking to use Michael Cohen's plea deal to implicate President Trump in the alleged crime confessed to by Cohen, don't forget to use the precedent set by the highly respected institution we call the Congress of the United States of America when you make arguments that Donald Trump was trying to influence an election with a payment to silence his accusers.

The following is a list of articles from major news outlets with short excerpts written about members of Congress paying "secret settlements" for everything from sexual harassment to who knows what else – because we really don't know "what else" they did.  It's a secret.

The secrecy, or can we say cover-up, is meant to protect the identity of the elected officials involved who need to silence their accusers.  You know, just in case the information might become public and affect their positions in Congress or – wait for it – the outcomes of their next elections.

Sexual harassment fund exposes Congress

Under Congressional Accountability Act, taxpayers pay for secret settlements. Where's the accountability?

When sexual harassers agree on confidential settlements with victims, at least the payments come out of the harassers' own pockets or from companies that choose to employ them.

But not, as the nation has learned this month, when the harasser serves in Congress. Then, taxpayers foot the bill. And the entire episode remains hidden.

From USA Today (11/17/2017)

How Congress plays by different rules on sexual harassment and misconduct

Congress makes its own rules about the handling of sexual complaints against members and staff, passing laws exempting it from practices that apply to other employers.

The result is a culture in which some lawmakers suspect harassment is rampant. Yet victims are unlikely to come forward, according to attorneys who represent them.

From The Washington Post (10/27/17)

Congress' sexual harassment system, decoded

It has all the makings of a serious scandal: more than $17 million in public money paid since 1997 to settle workplace disputes on Capitol Hill.

But the reality of what critics lambaste as a sexual harassment "slush fund" is more complicated, like much about Congress' policy for handling harassment complaints.  The money covers all sorts of settlements, just not for sexual harassment, and some lawmakers cut their own side deals with accusers.

From Politico (11/21/17)

Congress paid out $17 million in settlements. Here's why we know so little about that money.

Two things have become painfully clear on Capitol Hill this week: Lawmakers and staffers say sexual harassment is "rampant" – but even members of Congress have no idea just how widespread the problem is.

The controversial and sensitive issue has taken center stage in Congress this week, with female lawmakers making fresh allegations of sexual harassment against unnamed members who are currently in office, and the unveiling of a new bill on Wednesday to change how sexual harassment complaints are reported and resolved.

On Thursday, the Office of Compliance released additional information indicating that it has paid victims more than $17 million since its creation in the 1990s.  That includes all settlements, not just related to sexual harassment, but also discrimination and other cases.

From CNN (11/16/17)

Record sexual harassment settlement exposes byzantine congressional process

Of all the secret deals cut on behalf of accused members of congress, the one that resulted in the largest settlement yet uncovered may be the most surprising.  The details provide a window into a process so opaque, convoluted and confusing that even the accused congressman was left in the dark about exactly how and why his accuser ended up being paid $220,000 for her claim.

With new harassment accusations being revealed on a nearly daily basis in Congress, documents obtained by NBC News from this one case shed light on how taxpayer money ends up being used to essentially sweep such incidents under a bureaucratic rug with little accountability.

From NBC News (12/17/17)

Congress details some payouts to sexual harassment accusers

The Congressional office that has been using taxpayer funds to secretly settle cases of sexual harassment on Capitol Hill lifted the veil on a sliver of data today, showing that between 2008 and 2012 it paid out $115,000 to staffers who had filed workplace sexual harassment complaints while employed by a member of the House of Representatives.

From ABC News (12/19/17)

Rep says Congress paid out $15M to silence sex harassment victims

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) told MSNBC that the millions have been doled out to alleged victims of harassment from congressional members over the past decade.

The US congresswoman who testified that current members of Congress are known sex harassers said Tuesday night that $15 million in hush money has been paid to accusers.

From New York Post (11/14/17)

Why Are Congressmen Using Taxpayer Funds to Buy Off Sex Abuse Claims?

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.

From Newsweek (11/29/17)

Congress Has A Sexual Harassment Problem

After weeks of stories detailing dozens of such sexual harassment incidents on Capitol Hill – most involving unnamed lawmakers – two things are clear: Congress has an abuse problem, and Congress is not sufficiently dealing with it.

From The Huffington Post (11/21/17)

Congressional watchdog demands names in $17M sex harassment payoffs

Frustrated with congressional stonewalling, an ethics watchdog group is going public with its demand that the list of lawmakers tied to $17 million in tax dollars used to pay off sexual harassment claims be released.

"The public deserves to know," said the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, or FACT.

Congress' Office of Compliance has paid out $17 million in harassment cases and kept the names of members involved secret. Two current female members said that there are two sitting lawmakers involved.

From Washington Examiner (11/27/17)

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