Lawmakers and staffers say sexual harassment is "rampant" -- but even members of Congress have no idea just how widespread the problem is. Chat with us in Government sexual harassment cases Messenger. Find out what's happening in the world as it unfolds. Lawmakers should be called out. Lawmakers should be called out The controversial and sensitive issue has taken center stage in Congress this week, Government sexual harassment cases female lawmakers making fresh allegations of sexual harassment against unnamed members who are currently in office, and the unveiling of a new bill on Wednesday to change how sexual harassment complaints are reported and resolved.
On Thursday, a woman shared her story of being groped and kissed without her consent by Sen.
Al Franken in So far, there's been little specific data to help illuminate just how pervasive sexual harassment is on Capitol Hill, but one figure has emerged: That includes all settlements, not just related to sexual harassment, but also discrimination and other cases.
An OOC spokeswoman said the office was releasing the extra data "due to the interest in the awards and settlement figures. CNN has also learned that during the current Congress, no settlement payment approval requests have been made to the congressional committee charged with approving them. Paul Ryan orders mandatory sexual harassment training Government sexual harassment cases members, staff.
According to the OOC data Thursday, there have been settlements.
Jackie Speier, the California Democrat who unveiled a bill to reform the OOCannounced at a news conference Wednesday that there had been settlements. The previous tally did not include settlements paid inand Once a settlement is reached, the money is not paid out of an individual lawmaker's office but rather comes out of a special fund set up to handle this within the US Treasury -- meaning taxpayers are footing the bill. The fund was set up by the Congressional Accountability Act, the law that created the Office of Compliance.
How many of the settlements were sexual harassment-related? Speier told CNN's
Government sexual harassment cases Blitzer on Wednesday that the settlements represent those related to all kinds of complaints, including sexual harassment as well as racial, religious or disability-related discrimination complaints. The OOC has not made public the breakdown of the settlements, and Speier says she's pursuing other avenues to find out the total.
In its latest disclosure, the OOC said that statistics on are "not further broken down into specific claims because settlements may involve cases that allege violations of more than one of the 13 statutes incorporated by the Congressional Accountability Act.
After a settlement is reached, a payment must be approved by the chairman and ranking member of the House administration committee, an aide to Chairman Gregg Harper, a Mississippi Republican, told CNN.
The aide also said that "since becoming chair of the committee, Chairman Harper has not received any settlement requests. It's not clear how many other lawmakers -- if any -- in addition to the House administration committee's top two members are privy to details about the settlements and payments. That source also said that the Government sexual harassment cases Democrat and Republican on the House administration committee review proposed settlements and both must approve the payments.
Similarly, a source in Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's office told CNN that Pelosi also is not made aware of those details, and that they are confined to the parties of the settlement and the leaders of the administration committee. Speier who is working on multiple bills to reform the secretive and woefully inadequate process," the source added.
When asked about Ryan's knowledge of any sexual harassment settlements, a spokesperson for Ryan's office noted that the committee is conducting a full review of workplace harassment and discrimination.
What do these settlements tell us about the scope of the sexual harassment problem on Capitol Hill? However, even knowing that dollar figure doesn't the problem: And the number of settlements reached may not be indicative of how widespread sexual harassment is, as many victims chose not to proceed with OOC's process for handling complaints.