WASHINGTON DC – US Congressman Tom Marino (R-10th, Cogan Station) has introduced new legislation that will require the repayment, with interest, of taxpayer’s money that is used in sexual harassment settlements against a member of Congress.
The bill would require the Office of Compliance to publish a report listing all past and future awards and settlements against a member of Congress relating to sexual harassment, including the identity of the member while protecting the identity of the victim.
The bill will also not allow the use of a nondisclosure agreement in order to reach a settlement and force the release of prior victims from nondisclosure agreements allowing them to publicly share their stories.
The legislation is a companion to the bill Congressman Marino proposed last week that prohibited the use of taxpayer dollars in sexual harassment settlements.
“Congressmen and Senators should not be allowed to play by a different set of rules and held to a different set of standards than the American public. Sexual Harassment in the workplace is unacceptable by anyone and taxpayers should not be on the hook for the actions of others.
My legislation will bring transparency and accountability to the secretive process used when a victim settles a sexual harassment claim against a Member of Congress. By listing publicly past and future settlements, along with the identity of the Member of Congress who committed the act of sexual harassment, the American people can see and judge for themselves.
My bill also protects the victim’s identity while releasing them from any nondisclosure agreement signed along with a settlement, allowing them to come forward if they choose. Going forward, nondisclosure agreements are prohibited as a requirement of receiving a settlement. This legislation, along with H.R. 4458, will bring much needed transparency and taxpayer accountability to a broken process.”