WASHINGTON - Scandalous accusations were made against members of Congress during a House hearing for sexual harassment on Capitol Hill on Tuesday after a Congresswoman testified that some members have exposed themselves to staffers and sexually assaulted some victims on the House floor.
The hearing was in light of sexual harassment revelations that have shaken workplaces, Hollywood and media companies. Tuesday’s hearing was stark and sometimes graphic.
California Congresswoman Jackie Speier revealed that two current members of Congress, who she wouldn't name, have sexually harassed staffers.
“These harasser propositions such as ‘are you going to be a good girl,’ to perpetrators exposing their genitals, to victims having their private parts grabbed on the House floor. All they ask for in return as staff members is to be able to work in a hostile-free work environment,” Speier testified.
Virginia Congresswoman Barbara Comstock told FOX 5 she knew one former Capitol Hill staffer who had a Congressman expose himself to her.
“A young staffer had been asked to go to a member’s residence to bring some documents and was greeted by a member in a towel who then brought her in and exposed himself and she left and she decided to quit the office and has moved on,” Comstock said.
Testimony detailed that while Congress demands private companies have fair ways for accusers to pursue sexual harassment claims, Congress’ own sexual harassment complaint process has stacked the deck in favor of members of Congress against their accusers.
The start of the process begins with the accuser being forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement. If a member of Congress has been accused, they receive a House lawyer to represent them for free while the accuser does not receive free counsel.
It was also detailed that even if a Congressional accuser goes through the process and reaches a settlement, it’s not the accused member of Congress or staffer who has to pay up. It’s the taxpayer.
Between 1997 and 2014, a little known Congressional fund paid out $15.2 million to 235 people for Capitol Hill workplace violations, which include sexual harassment claims in Congress.