The Latest: Senate paid nearly $1.5M in harassment claims
Dec. 22, 2017
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Congress and sexual misconduct (all times local):
The Senate has released a bare-bones report showing it's paid nearly $1.5 million in taxpayer money over the past two decades in what senators say were harassment settlements.
A two-page release reveals no names of lawmakers or victims and few details.
It says $599,000 was for 13 settlements involving "member-led" Senate offices. The remaining $853,000 was for 10 settlements involving "other" Senate offices.
Senate Rules Committee Chairman Richard Shelby says in a statement that workplace harassment shouldn't be tolerated, "particularly not in the United States Senate."
The document says the largest settlement was $421,000 and was for "race discrimination and reprisal."
While the press statement refers to "harassment settlement data," none of the individual settlements' descriptions uses the word "harassment." Many involved sex, age, race and disability discrimination and reprisals.
The House Ethics Committee is expanding its investigation of Republican congressman Blake Farenthold of Texas to determine whether he lied to the committee in its inquiry into sexual harassment allegations.
The panel is also reviewing whether he directed his congressional staff to work on his election campaigns.
Farenthold is the subject of an investigation into whether he sexually harassed a former member of his staff.
Farenthold has announced he won't seek re-election to a fifth term. He has denied the allegations of sexual harassment.
The Ethics panel also said Thursday it has created an investigative subcommittee to determine whether Democratic congressman Ruben Kihuen of Nevada engaged in sexual harassment.
Kihuen is already the subject of an investigation, but the subcommittee is necessary for the most serious sanctions in ethics matters.