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Rep. Comstock says male lawmaker exposed himself to staffer

Rep. Barbara Comstock, a Republican, represents Virginia’s 10th Congressional District.
Speaker Paul Ryan said Tuesday that the House will require anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training for all members and their staffs. The announcement came just hours after a hearing in which two female lawmakers spoke about 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," said Ryan, R-Wis. "As we work with the Administration, Ethics, and Rules committees to implement mandatory training, we will continue our review to make sure the right policies and resources are in place to prevent and report harassment."

The policy change will happen through legislation.

The move comes days after the Senate unanimously approved a measure requiring all senators, staff and interns to be trained on preventing sexual harassment.

During a House Administration hearing Tuesday on sexual harassment prevention, Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va., said she was recently told about a staffer who quit her job after a lawmaker asked her to bring work material to his house, then exposed himself.

"That kind of situation, what are we doing here for women, right now, who are dealing with someone like that?" Comstock asked. Comstock, who represents Loudoun County, said there should be clear-cut rules about the kinds of relationships and behaviors that are off-limits and create a hostile work environment.

Comstock said the name of the lawmaker she mentioned wasn't disclosed to her, but she emphasized that naming names is an important step in promoting accountability and encouraging victims to come forward.

At the same hearing, Rep. Jackie Speier said two current lawmakers have been involved in sexual harassment.

"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," Speier said.

The Democrat from California recently introduced legislation to make training to prevent sexual harassment mandatory for members of Congress after sharing her own story of being sexually assaulted by a male chief of staff. 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.

The bill gained support from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers.

Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., who chairs the House Administration Committee, said in his opening remarks, "I believe we need mandatory training, and probably everyone here would agree."

Speier said since coming forward with her story she's been inundated with phone calls from staffers eager to share their own accounts of harassment and abuse. A petition calling for Congress to make training mandatory has gained more than 1,500 signatures from former Hill staffers.

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

One Republican lawmaker, Rodney Davis of Illinois, said that addressing the issue of sexual harassment on the Hill is "long overdue" and that Congress must "lead by example." But he expressed concern that the increasing focus on gender hostility in the workplace could create unintended consequences, including "that some offices may just take a short cut and not hire women as a way to avoid these issues."

Gloria Lett, counsel for the Office of House Employment Counsel, replied that such discrimination is illegal.

With each passing day, new revelations of sexual misconduct continue to rock the political sphere. Alabama's Republican nominee for Senate, Roy Moore, has come under fire after several women came forward with accounts of sexually inappropriate behavior or, in at least one case, assault, at Moore's hand when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and other Republicans, including Ryan, have said Moore should step aside. One Republican senator has suggested that if elected, Moore should be expelled from the Senate.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said women are "nowhere near where we should be" in workplaces across the country — including the Senate.

"You wonder why there's only 21 women in the Senate, or why there's hardly any women running Hollywood studios ... or major businesses. Well, when you have work environments where people feel like they can't get ahead without having to put out, that's what happens," Klobuchar said.


Ms. Comstock - That’s Hearsay and is inadmissible.

As a proud Christian let’s all support the changing tide that protects women and fights against any harassment of any kind on EITHER side. Those who address only one side and make this political are missing the point. MORALS before political party. Get a grip Ashburn idjiot

Meanwhile…as Comstock highlights this activity she very quietly just voted “YES” on the disastrous GOP tax cut.  If you make less than $100K per year, she just voted yes on increasing the taxes you pay over the next decade.

Training on sexual harassment isn’t going to do anything. People who commit these acts know what sexual harassment and assault. They just don’t think they’re going to get caught.

As a proud Republican Christian I don’t really see what the big deal is.  These things have been going on for generations but now all of these liberal sensitive types want to pander to everything that they perceive as some kind of indiscretion that could possibly hurt somebody’s feelings.  You’d never see President Trump accused of sexual harassment, we all need to look toward our leadership for guidance in these times that are tougher than they should be and learn from their example.  This is getting ridiculous.

Clinton, Weiner and now Franken. The Democrats chickens have come home to roost.

Remember that congress gets its money from taxpayers.

And don’t assume that the payouts only went to women….....

2016 - 15 settlements - $588,049
2017 - 8 settlements - $934,754

So, did someone major get caught in 2017 that their settlement was bigger, much bigger? 7 fewer settlements than in 2016, but $346,705 more.

According to the Congressional Office of Compliance, Congress has paid out $15 million dollars in harassment settlements and awards, starting in 1997, with $39,429.00 for six payouts.

The banner year was 2007, with a total of $4,053,274.00 (10 payouts); 2002 was the runner-up, for $3,974,08.00 (25 payouts). From 1997 to 2017 there have been a total of 264 payouts.

Name the names, you cowards! Because sooner or later diligent investigative reporter is going to come out with it.

Only 2?  Ba-ha-ha.  These creeps are rampant on Capitol Hill.  Let all the men and women who have been harassed (or worse) link together and come out against these deviants.

On the news last night, it showed the multitude of steps needed to file a harassment claim in Congress.  There were so many steps and so much time and red tape that it took over 90 days for a complaint to process.  Clearly, Congress has set itself up to sexually harass (mostly) women with impunity. 

I already had a low opinion of Congress, but they keep finding ways to demonstrate what a bunch of sleazy scumbags they are.

Who?  When?  Where?  Why are you protecting?  This could happen again to someone else’s daughter.

Here’s a thought, Barbara, there is an office on Capitol Hill (actually they put in in the Library of Congress for some odd reason) that is tasked to deal with situations like the one you described.  Why couldn’t you find the victim, and with your knowledge of the law and Congressional procedure, help this woman navigate the process?

As a Hill alumni (not staff), I can tell you that place was a misogynist’s dream.  From photos and profiles of new staff in the Hill and Roll Call newspapers (staffers looking for their next date), to the members and senior staff hitting on “new blood,” the place was a cesspool.

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