LANGHORNE, PA - Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-08), who has sought to reform Washington since Day 1 with the introduction of a sweeping government reform and anti-corruption package, continues to take a leadership role in pushing back against sexual harassment on Capitol Hill and around the county.
“This Congress must stand with the victims of this harassment and take swift action to root out those who would sexually harass any other person, regardless of position or title,” said Fitzpatrick late last year.
Recent accusations on Capitol Hill show the need for action.
“Harassment, in any form, has absolutely no place in the halls of Congress – or any workplace. That’s why Congressman Fitzpatrick has supported several bipartisan measures to root out and address this type of misconduct,” noted Fitzpatrick’s office. “Consistent with that legislation, Mr. Meehan must undergo a comprehensive investigation with the results to be made public, repay any taxpayer dollars used and, ultimately, face the consequences. Any and all Members of Congress, Republican or Democrat, whom the Ethics Committee’s investigation concludes engaged in harassment should resign.”
Among other efforts, Fitzpatrick has:
- Led a letter with 14 freshman Republican and Democrat members calling for the House Ethics Committee to undertake a “full and complete investigation into allegations that Members of Congress have been using taxpayer dollars to cover up sexual harassment lawsuits.” Additionally, the bipartisan letter calls for the names of those involved in these instances.
- Helped introduce the Congressional Accountability and Hush Fund Elimination Act [HR 4494]. This bipartisan legislation seeks to prevent sexual harassment/assault within the Congress, empower survivors, and eliminate the congressional hush fund that is currently being used to settle such claims with taxpayer money. To those ends, this legislation will:
- prohibit the use of public funds to pay settlements or awards for sexual harassment or assault claims;
- disclose all payments previously made by the Office of Compliance on its website (the name of the victim is expressly prohibited from being disclosed);
- require perpetrators to reimburse the taxpayers with interest;
- prohibit nondisclosure agreements as a precondition to initiate procedures to address sexual harassment or assault claims; and
- permit victims of sexual harassment or assault to make public statements about their claim, regardless of any previously signed nondisclosure agreement.
- Helped introduce the Settlement Tax Deductions are Over for Predators Act (STOP) Act [HR 4495]. This bipartisan legislation would prohibit the deductibility of legal settlements related to sexual assault and sexual harassment as business expenses. Currently, companies can deduct as ordinary and necessary business expenses any legal settlements, fines, fees, and expenses related to sexual assault and sexual harassment cases. In allowing businesses to write off these expenses, the American taxpayer is effectively subsidizing the cost of resolving legal issues related to sexual misconduct. The STOP Act would prohibit deduction of these expenses in cases where the allegations are public or in cases involving a non-disclosure agreement. This language was included in the tax reform bill and signed into law.
- Helped introduce the ME TOO Congress Act [H.R. 4396]. This bipartisan legislation would set definitive criteria to address sexual harassment in all national legislative branch offices. The bipartisan bill would reform the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 procedures for investigating and resolving allegations that legislative branch employing offices violated the rights and protections provided to their employees, including protections against sexual harassment. The bill would ensure that such protected rights are extended to interns, fellows and whistleblowers in Congress.
- Co-sponsored the Congressional Education About Sexual Harassment Eradication Resolution [H.Res. 604] that requires Members of the House, congressional staff, and other employees of the House to complete sexual harassment prevention and response training every year, and then file a certification of completion with the House Committee on Ethics.