Blackburn: Expose the names, stop the hush money

December 1, 2017 in News by Slad

 

Source: One News Now | Steve Jordahl

Rep. Blackburn on Fox News Nov2017

Congress will soon be debating a bill that would shine a light on the payouts and identities of several members of Congress who have been accused of sex assault allegations.

The Congressional Accountability and Hush Fund Elimination Act, which has bipartisan support, is meant to fix a 1995 bill that was passed in the wake of the Bill Clinton sex scandal. That bill established an Office of Compliance which had access to money that was used – to the tune of somewhere between $15 and $17 million – to pay of victims of workplace abuses, some of which were sexual assaults. (See earlier story)

Will Congress clean up its own act when it comes to dealing with members guilty of sexual harassment?

Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) (above), one of the co-sponsors of the measure, tells OneNewsNow that most members of Congress didn’t even know the fund existed.

“It doesn’t have a line item appropriation. It functions within the Office of Compliance,” she explains. “And what we are saying is that it’s a practice that needs to change.”

Although the exact numbers are still hidden, Blackburn says some of the money was used to pay off victims of sexual assault and keep them quiet.

“This Accountability Act [we introduced on Wednesday] would end the secret ‘hush money’ payments when it comes to the sexual harassment settlements that have been made,” says the Republican lawmaker. “… This is public money, thereby the public deserves to know.

“The fact that this is being paid with federal money – taxpayer dollars – and then it is a slush fund, a hush-money fund and then that the victim has to go in and sign a non-disclosure agreement in order to get the settlement that is due them – I think this is disgusting and it is a practice that needs to end immediately.”

The bill would also reveal the names of the members of Congress who have been accused. “But we think it’s important that the names of the victims stay private; it should be up to the victim if they want to stay private or if they want to talk about what happened to them,” she adds.

Blackburn hopes to have the Congressional Accountability and Hush Fund Elimination Act on the president’s desk by the end of the year.