Rep. Schneider Joins Introduction of Bill to Prevent Taxpayer Funds from Congressional Sexual Harassment Settlements
Today, U.S. Representative Brad Schneider (D-IL) joined Reps. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Jim Cooper (D-TN), and Kathleen Rice (D-NY) to introduce legislation to urgently reform the broken settlement process for sexual harassment and assault claims made against Member of Congress.
The bipartisan Congressional Accountability and Hush Fund Elimination Act would prevent taxpayer money from paying settlements in sexual harassment and assault claims, bring needed transparency to the currently opaque process, and better protect the rights of victims to speak out.
“It’s outrageous and wrong that Members of Congress can use taxpayer money to cover-up sexual misconduct,” said Schneider. “Elected officials should be held to a higher standard, and we cannot enable misbehavior with a system that secretly settles with public funds. I’m proud to co-sponsor this bipartisan bill to bring needed reforms prohibiting the use of taxpayer funds for sexual misconduct settlements and empowering victims to share their stories by barring non-disclosure agreements.”
Specifically, the Congressional Accountability and Hush Fund Elimination Act will:
- Prohibit the future use of taxpayer dollars to pay sexual harassment and sexual assault claims against members of Congress and staff.
- Require disclosure within 30 calendar days of all prior settlement payments funded by taxpayers, the reason for the payment and the nature of the allegation, and the member of Congress or congressional staffer implicated in the matter, while protecting the identity and privacy of the victim.
- Prohibit members of Congress from using office budgets to camouflage payments.
- Require reimbursement of taxpayer funds paid in a congressional sexual harassment or sexual assault settlement.
- Allows victims to speak out regardless of the terms of the settlement agreements.
The bill currently has 42 bipartisan co-sponsors.