Release the Names!

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It has been widely reported that since 1997, Congress has paid out more than $17 million in funds from the public fisc to settle claims of sexual harassment against members of the House and Senate. In the private sector, the names of the parties to these settlements have been held confidential so as to protect the accusers from embarrassment and retaliation. As those fund are paid out of private funds, the public has no legitimate right to know the identities of those parties to the agreement.

Members of Congress, however, use monies levied and collected through the federal tax system to find these settlements, shifting the pain of financial loss to the faceless masses of taxpayers and killing any motivation to reform poor behavior on their individual parts. Add to this the fact that Congress as a body, and Members as individuals have known about the existence of the fund, and the actions that necessitated its creation, and the cycle of corruption, hypocrisy, misappropriation and entitlement by our elected officials is made complete.

Members of Congress have no right to the protections of privacy that taxpayer funds afford their bad actions. For this reason, we ask that the Speaker of the House, the Majority Leader of the Senate, the Vice President as President Of the Senate, and the President of the United States immediately publish the list of current and former Members of Congress on whose behalf these funds were paid, and that the 1995 Public Law known as the Congressional Accountability Act Be amended so that the confidentiality afforded to Members of Congress be removed, and that the process for reporting claims against Members be revised and updated to meet current workplace standards.



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