Congressional complaint office refuses to release data on sexual harassment settlements
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of NBC News
Posted: December 24th, 2017
The office that receives complaints from Congressional staffers on sexual harassment has refused to release information on settlements in the Senate, keeping secret the amount of taxpayer money spent to quiet such claims. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., asked the Office of Compliance on Dec. 6 to release the number of sexual harassment claims filed against a senator or his or her staff between 2007 and 2017. He also asked for the dollar amounts of the settlements and said he would make the information public. Susan Grundmann, executive director of the OOC, said [that] the statute that created the Office of Compliance prohibits her from releasing the data. "The OOC provided ... a statistical breakdown of settlement amounts involving Senate employing offices from 1997-2017. That information represents the full extent of what we can provide," Grundmann wrote. Kaine ... wasnt satisfied with Grundmanns response. In a statement, Kaine said that by not releasing the names of the accused or the accusers, no privacy rights would be violated. The OOCs response seems to be inconsistent. The office released five years of data in settlements with House offices to the House Administration Committee and is expected to release the first 15 years as well. The only public information surrounding Senate settlements is a $220,000 payment in 2014. Even though the accused was a congressman, Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., the case was finally resolved with the Senate Chief Counsel for Employment office.