Messer bill looks to stop taxpayer dollars from being used in congressional harassment settlements
WASHINGTON – Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN) plans to introduce legislation to help protect victims of sexual assault and harassment in Congress.
Messer announced Monday that the bill would release Congressional staff from current non-disclosure agreements signed as part of a sexual assault settlement with a member of Congress, as well as prohibit similar non-disclosure agreements in the future.
Messer also says the bill will prohibit taxpayer dollars from being used to settle sexual harassment claims with members of Congress.
“It’s not OK that taxpayer money is used to silence victims of sexual harassment,” said Messer in a press release. “If these victims want to tell their story, they should be empowered to do so.”
The Washington Post reports that the government has paid more than $17 million in taxpayer money over the last 20 years to settle sexual harassment claims and other workplace violations filed by employees of Congress.
Messer also supports the bipartisan Member and Employee Training and Oversight On Congress Act, which would make sexual harassment training mandatory for all members and staff.