Tags: marsha blackburn | sexual harassment | settlement | tax dollars

Blackburn: Bill Will End Taxpayer Payouts to Settle Sex Abuse Claims

Image: Blackburn: Bill Will End Taxpayer Payouts to Settle Sex Abuse Claims
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (Bill Clark/AP)

By    |   Thursday, 30 November 2017 12:06 PM

Rep. Marsha Blackburn said Thursday she was "completely disgusted" when she learned that lawmakers could use tax dollars to settle sexual harassment claims, and she has signed on with a bipartisan team to push a bill banning the practice.

"Like most of my colleagues, I was completely disgusted when I found out about this," the Tennessee Republican told Fox News' "Fox and Friends" program. "So let's bring some sunshine in, let's bring some transparency and accountability, and let's end this practice."

According to Fox News, a law on the books for just over 10 years allows people to sue a federal lawmaker for sexual harassment only if they consent to counseling and mediation.

Further, under the process, the lawmaker's identity remains secret, and if a settlement is reached, the money to pay for it comes from taxpayer dollars. According to reports, more than $17 million has been paid out through the fund.

Blackburn said the Congressional Accountability and Hush Fund Elimination Act, introduced on Wednesday, will end that and bring transparency to the issue. If passed, the bill requires the disclosure of all settlement payments within 30 days of when they occur and the name of the lawmaker involved.

"Let's bring some sunshine in, let's bring some transparency and accountability, let's end this practice," Blackburn said. "These have been personal bailouts, so let's end this, and that's exactly what our piece of legislation does."

If the bill is passed, the names of individuals behind some of the claims will be released, Blackburn said, and "then those that have used this money, taxpayer dollars will have to pay that money back with interest.

The fund that is being used is there to settle several kinds of claims, Blackburn pointed out, not just those of a sexual matter, but the claims that deal with sexual harassment or assault are what's being targeted.

"It is inappropriate that there has not been transparency with members of Congress and the American taxpayer, so let's clean this up," she said. "It's part of the draining the swamp. It is a part of getting rid of this type of one set of actions for over here and another for over there. And we think that this is the right step to move forward on."

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Rep. Marsha Blackburn said Thursday she was "completely disgusted" when she learned that lawmakers could use tax dollars to settle sexual harassment claims, and she has signed on with a bipartisan team to push a bill banning the practice.
marsha blackburn, sexual harassment, settlement, tax dollars
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2017-06-30
Thursday, 30 November 2017 12:06 PM
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