This Law Lets Congress Settle Sexual Harassment Cases Secretly. Guess Who Foots the Bill...
The issue of sexual harassment is continuing to frequent the news cycle (see NY Times Reports That Louis C.K. Enjoys Touching Himself in Front of Non-Consenting Ladies (UPDATE)). It just keeps lingering around. Like Kevin Spacey at the high school theater. We've learned plenty about Hollywood's rapeish ways -- now it's time to take a look at the government's shady sexual doings, according to Jackie Speier. Apparently there's a cringy sexual harassment law Congress doesn't want you to know about.
A little-known law has been on the books for more than a decade that gives anyone accusing a federal lawmaker of sexual harassment the right to sue - but only if they consent to a lengthy drawn-out process that includes a written statement within 180 days of the incident, 30 days of counseling and another month or so of mediation.
During that time, the claimant's employer will be notified. The lawmaker's identity, however, will remain confidential even if he or she is found guilty.
Should there be a settlement - and there have been many - it's the American taxpayer that's on the hook, with "no public disclosure and no consequences for the harasser," said California Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier.
In other words, there's no real punishment for those found guilty. Nobody knows about the verdict, thanks to confidentiality agreements, and the settlement is paid for by the taxpayer. Silent, taxpayer-funded sexual harassment. A gross privilege known only to federal workers. It's just one of those little government perks.
So make sure you aren't late on taxes this year! Uncle Sam needs that money to shut up Chatty Cathy. Or maybe even Chatty Chad. Sexual harassment can happen to dudes too (see Mariah Carey Accused of Sexually Harassing her Bodyguard).
There are plenty of things Americans are willing to pay taxes for. Roads, infrastructure, national security. Subsidizing Congress' wandering hands? Not so much.
Speaking of things we don't want to come out of our taxes: