Congresswomen Allege Sexual Harassment by Lawmakers
Nov 15 2017 by Desiree Burns
"What are we doing for women right now who are dealing with somebody like that?" she asked.
"I have had numerous meetings with phone calls with staffers, both present and former, women and men who have been subjected to this inexcusable and often illegal behavior", she said.
Addressing the issue will be complex and "at times uncomfortable", Speier said, as she applauded colleagues from both parties for supporting efforts to mandate sexual harassment training.
Neither Rep. Jackie Speier, a California Democrat, nor Rep. Barbara Comstock, a Virginia Republican, named the lawmakers in question during a hearing in the House administration committee.
Paul said in a statement that the goal is "not only to raise awareness, but also make abundantly clear that harassment in any form has no place in this institution".
One Senate aide said Congress was "a sort of old school, Wild West workplace culture that has a lot of "work hard, play hard" ethos and without the sort of standard professionalism that you find in more traditional workplaces". "At that point, he made a decision to expose himself", Comstock said.
Lawmakers in Washington are tackling their own allegations of sexual misconduct.
One lawmaker, Republican Rodney Davis of IL, said that some female staffers in his office anxious that "some offices might take a shortcut and not hire women as a way to avoid these issues".
Speier, who revealed her own history of being sexually harassed when she was a staffer on the Hill, is calling for mandatory harassment training for all members and staffers. 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.
"Obviously, that's not the right approach", he said.
Earlier this month, Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.), now a member of the House Democratic leadership, told The Associated Press that a male lawmaker had repeatedly ogled her and at one point inappropriately touched her on the House floor. Then they go through mediation.
Rep. Barbara ComstockBarbara Jean ComstockWilson endorses Foxx as next House Education chairman House transfers DC Metro board appointments to DOTDems target DC-area GOP rep on Metro funding MORE (R-Va.), a member of the House Administration Committee, said she had heard of an unidentified male lawmaker who exposed himself to a young female staffer. 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.
In the Senate, Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, is proposing a bill that would streamline the reporting process in the Office of Compliance, the little-known office that handles such complaints. "But mandatory training is one very important component of trying to stop this".