Published: Wed, November 15, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Congresswomen Allege Sexual Harassment by Lawmakers

Congresswomen Allege Sexual Harassment by Lawmakers

The U.S. House of Representatives will require anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training for all members and their staffs, just hours after a hearing in which two female lawmakers spoke about incidents of sexual misconduct involving sitting members of Congress.

"Our goal is not only to raise awareness, but also make abundantly clear that harassment in any form has no place in this institution", Ryan said in the statement. Her bill also includes a survey of the current situation in Congress and an overhaul of the processes by which members and staffers file harassment complaints.

"What are we doing here for women right now", she added, "who are dealing with someone like that?"

'In fact there are two members of Congress, Republican and Democrat, who serve right now who have been subject to review, or not been subject to review, that have engaged in sexual harassment, ' said Speier.

CNN spoke with more than 50 lawmakers, current and former Hill aides and political veterans who have worked in Congress, the majority of whom spoke anonymously to be candid and avoid potential repercussions.

The legislator remains on Capitol Hill, she testified.

As for Moore, he has denied the allegations against him, but his support among mainstream Republicans has plummeted one month before the December 12 special election. Shortly afterward House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., sent a memo to fellow lawmakers encouraging them to complete sexual harassment training and make it mandatory for their staffs.

Between 1997 and 2014, a little known Congressional fund paid out $15.2 million to 235 people who made sexual harassment claims in Congress.

She did not name the lawmakers mentioned in her testimony, citing the non-disclosure agreements she wants to eliminate.

Meanwhile, several Democrats are sponsoring legislation that would change the way sexual harassment complaints are handled. Then they go through mediation. Comstock said there should be clear-cut rules about the kinds of relationships and behaviors that are off-limits and create a hostile work environment.

Barbara Childs Wallace, the chair of the Office of Compliance's board of directors, called the mandatory training that lawmakers are calling for a necessary first step, but said more changes are needed to improve the culture on Capitol Hill. If a member of Congress has been accused, they receive a House lawyer to represent them for free while the accuser does not receive free counsel.

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