ABC News reports: The Congressional Office of Compliance secretly paid close to $100,000 in taxpayer funds to settle sexual harassment claims from at least two young male staffers who worked for disgraced former Congressman Eric Massa, multiple sources with direct knowledge of the matter told ABC News.
The claims were settled after Massa, a Democrat from upstate New York, resigned in 2010 amid a pending ethics investigation into allegations he groped and sexually harassed members of his staff.
“This is exactly why there should be transparency,” said Rep. Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y., who blasted the payouts in an interview with ABC News. Rice, who is co-sponsoring legislation that would remove secrecy from the payouts, added, “There is no reason why these settlements, these accusations should be done in secret once they’re adjudicated.”
When asked for comment on the specific settlements paid to Massa’s staffers, a spokesman for the Office of Compliance would neither confirm nor deny any of the terms, saying they are required by law to keep those records secret.
The Office of Compliance, now in the spotlight amid new bombshell accusations of sexual harassment by sitting members of Congress, says it has paid out more than $17 million in taxpayer dollars over 20 years to settle workplace complaints in the halls of Congress. [Continue reading…]