Saving Your Tax Dollars: Congress Changes It's Terrible Sexual Misconduct Policy
In a bill that was passed Thursday, Members of Congress will not be able to use taxpayer dollars to settle sexual misconduct and harassment claims made against them.
Why they were ever allowed to do so in the first place makes no sense at all, but at least it's done.
The Huffington Post reports,
Congress passed a bill Thursday to overhaul its embarrassingly bad policy on sexual harassment, an update that will finally require lawmakers to pay out of pocket ― instead of spending your money ― when they get sued by staff for groping or other lewd behavior.
It took months of negotiations, but House and Senate lawmakers struck a deal Wednesday on what, exactly, the new Capitol Hill policy should look like. The final bill sailed through the House and Senate on Thursday by unanimous consent. All that’s left now is for President Donald Trump to sign it. (The irony is not lost on this reporter.)
The new law “will focus on protecting victims, strengthening transparency, holding Members accountable for their personal conduct, and improving the adjudication process,”
This is a bill that has been in the works for some time now and the reason it took so long to get it approved was that Congress wanted stricter repercussions for violators of the law in this regard.
According to Reuters,
“Time is finally up for members of Congress who think that they can sexually harass and get away with it. They will no longer be able to slink away with no one knowing that they have harassed. ... They will pay back the U.S. Treasury,” one of the House co-sponsors, Representative Jackie Speier, a Democrat, told reporters.
Under the legislation, lawmaker liability would be capped at $300,000 when a court has assessed the damages, but there would be no limit on lawmaker liability for settlements. Currently, the money is paid from taxpayer-funded accounts.
The new law, however, will not be retroactive so people such as former Representative Blake Farnthold will not be obligated to repay more than $84,000 which he used from the federal fund to defend himself in his own sexual misconduct lawsuit.