From an editorial in Wednesday’s Chicago Tribune:
Americans are being deluged with information about men accused of sexual harassment or assault. Since shocking revelations emerged about Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein in October, the Los Angeles Times notes, “a powerful person has been accused of misconduct at a rate of nearly once every 20 hours” – including such big names as Dustin Hoffman, Charlie Rose, Kevin Spacey, Matt Lauer and Garrison Keillor. No doubt more will follow.
But we can’t help noticing that some names are missing. Those would be members of Congress who have settled complaints from staffers or others who alleged mistreatment, including sexual harassment and discrimination – but have managed to keep it on the down low.
Some alleged offenders, fortunately, have been exposed. The public reaction has been negative enough to persuade each to take his leave.
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But other bad behavior has so far been kept under wraps. Since 2014, Congress’ Office of Compliance has reported, $174,000 has been paid out by House offices. Some $600,000 has been disbursed for claims of workplace misconduct in the offices of senators.
Over the past two decades, we learn, the compliance office has paid more than $17 million to resolve employment disputes on Capitol Hill, involving a wide range of matters. Who covered that expense? You did. All the settlement payments were made with public funds.
But the information about who did what is hidden from public view. That’s outrageous. If members of Congress are going to stick taxpayers with the bill for their abuses, taxpayers ought to be able to identify the guilty parties.