At least $600,000 in taxpayer money spent settling Senate misconduct claims since 1997

At least $600,000 in taxpayer money spent settling Senate misconduct claims since 1997

[Ed. – Your tax dollars at work.]

At least $600,000 in public money has been spent over the past 20 years to settle 13 workplace misconduct claims against senators’ offices, including $14,260 for a single settlement alleging sex discrimination, according to data released late Thursday.

The information on workplace harassment payouts from a fund maintained by Capitol Hill’s Office of Compliance, divulged by the Senate Rules and Appropriations Committees, does not include any details on which offices the payments correspond to. Its release came as the Rules panel, led by Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), faced pressure from both sides of the aisle to join the House in opening the Senate’s taxpayer-funded settlement books amid a national outcry over sexual harassment.

The Senate’s single claim of sex discrimination in the data released late Thursday included no data on whether sexual harassment was involved — the two have generally not been distinguished in congressional misconduct record keeping. Senators’ offices paid $21,420 to settle two claims involving racial discrimination, $89,800 to settle three claims involving disability discrimination, and $286,786 to settle eight claims that involved age discrimination, according to the data.

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