« | »

Abused Hill Staffers Get Millions In Tax $

Some actual reporting from the Politico:

Abused staffers net nearly $1M a year

By Erika Lovley – Tue Jul 13, 2010

Taxpayers have paid out nearly $1 million per year in settlements to congressional employees who have been harassed or otherwise treated badly by their political bosses over the past 14 years, according to records from the Office of Compliance.

The payouts stem from hundreds of complaints from employees, some of whom may have been sexually harassed or treated so poorly that third-party mediators were brought in to negotiate cash payoffs to settle the cases.

In fiscal year 2007, for example, the OOC — an agency that administers a confidential dispute resolution system — settled 38 cases, with 25 resulting in monetary awards worth $4 million. In fiscal year 2009 — the most recent year reported by the OOC — the office settled 13 cases for nearly $830,000.

These settlements may be especially relevant if aides who were allegedly abused by former Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) seek restitution. Massa resigned under allegations that he sexually harassed male staffers. Quite often, the harassment cases, after a secretive mediation process, can land staffers retroactive raises, vacation time and cash payouts for their perceived pain and suffering.

For privacy reasons, the details of all these cases — including the names of the victims and the alleged harassers — are almost never made public.

Naturally. We would not want to risk staining the escutcheons of our political masters.

Lawmakers, regardless of whether they are guilty of workplace violations, do not pay a dime for the settlements, while taxpayers foot the bill for the lawyers.

Naturally. Our godlike representatives cannot be held personally responsible for their actions, like the rest of us mere mortals are.

An unprecedented new report to be released Tuesday by the OOC sheds light on the larger problem of harassment in the congressional workplace — the OOC is often stymied by members of Congress and at times left largely powerless to inform employees about their workplace rights.

When the OOC [Office Of Compliance] recently tried to make contact with the Hill’s 30,000 employees to send them a survey gauging their knowledge of workplace rights, the office was blocked from having access to congressional e-mail addresses; only 892 surveys were returned…

Isn’t irony ironic? If a private company had ever been found to have done such a thing, there would be a stampede of Congressmen raising for the microphones and TV cameras to demand show trials hearings.

In a series of deep-background interviews done by POLITICO, aides and other Hill employees have complained about everything from unequal maternity leave policies to unwelcome advances to hostile treatment from members of Congress and other superiors.

“I wish I had known about the Office of Compliance,” one former aide to a Texas House member told POLITICO. “When the whole Massa thing came out, we heard about his staff reporting him and were shocked they could report their member. I feel bad for so many staffers who think they can’t stand up for themselves.”

Another Hill aide who is considering reporting a harassment case said: “There are times I’ve wanted to go over [to the OOC], but the general feeling is … you’ll be fired or blacklisted from the Hill.” … 

Congress has exempted itself from having to inform employees about their workplace rights by posting notices in offices — a practice required by law in the public and private sectors. Congress is also not required to keep records that would show a paper trail of lawmakers’ past misbehavior

Naturally. Congress should not be bound by the laws it has so generously enacted for the rest of us. Get serious.

“You could imagine the repercussions for a congressman if an allegation becomes public,” said employment lawyer George Chuzi, who represented Christine Niedermeier, a former aide who accused Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) of sexually harassing her several years ago. “It’s worth it to pay them, especially if it’s not their money, just to have the thing kept confidential. It’s worth it to them just to keep inappropriate allegations out of the public airwaves.”

So what this arrangement means is that the Congressmen get off scot free. The alleged victim gets a nice pay off. And the taxpayer foots the bill.

It’s a win-win-win for everybody.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, July 14th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

3 Responses to “Abused Hill Staffers Get Millions In Tax $”

  1. proreason says:

    What about the citizens?

    The abuse of staff members pales in comparaison to the abuse these criminals have heaped on the country.

    Well over half of these degenerates should be locked in prisons for life.

    Their crimes are thousands of times worse than Bernie Madoff could ever conceive of.

  2. fallingpianos says:

    “You could imagine the repercussions for a congressman if an allegation becomes public,” said employment lawyer George Chuzi, who represented Christine Niedermeier, a former aide who accused Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) of sexually harassing her several years ago.

    George, you know full well the only “repercussions” a congresscritter with a D after his name would experience from these allegations is an enhancement to his résumé.

    From the article:

    [Eric] Massa [D-N.Y.] resigned under allegations that he sexually harassed male staffers.

    He may have resigned under allegations, but we all know he did not resign because of them.

  3. NoNeoCommies says:

    Hmmmm…
    My new retirement plan is to get a job working for one of the Democrats and retire on my “settlement” after suffering “abuse”.


« Front Page | To Top
« | »