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Indiana on Harassment: Reps Say Your Tax Money Shouldn't Be Used for Hush Money

What Indiana's DC Reps say about the practice of using tax money to keep victims quiet, and anti-harassment training

WASHINGTON, D.C.--Sexual harassment in Congress must not be tolerated, said several Indiana representatives Wednesday, voting on a resolution that requires anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training for all members of Congress, each session.

The resolution, supported by both Democrats and Republicans, passed the House.

“It is absolutely unacceptable to be subjected to harassment or discrimination of any kind, anywhere," said Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.), chair of the House Ethics Committee. "Today’s vote in the House of Representatives is an important and appropriate first step to educate Members of Congress and their staff on inappropriate workplace actions and how to report such conduct."

“Even still, we must do more to protect the victims from this conduct while ensuring due process for the accused. I am committed to continuing to work with my colleagues in the House to improve the workplace called the People’s House and the conduct of those who work in it. With the passage of this resolution, we are one step closer to expressing to the nation that sexual harassment in any capacity is wrong and must be prevented and stopped.”

“The House resolution today is a step in the right direction, but it’s clear more must be done.” said Rep. Luke Messer said on the House floor. 

Messer recently announced plans to introduce legislation to ensure victims of sexual assault and harassment aren’t silenced by non-disclosure agreements, and prohibit taxpayer dollars from being used to settle sexual harassment claims with members of Congress.

“We must stop taxpayer dollars from being used to settle sexual harassment claims against members of Congress and victims should be released from non-disclosure agreements that prevent them from coming forward and telling their story.”

“As the father of four children, including two daughters, I believe this is an additional step that can be taken to ensure that anyone working for a Member of Congress in the House of Representatives does so in a positive, professional environment, free of harassment," said Rep. Larry Bucshon, a physician who said he ran a medical practice where sexual harassment was unacceptable.

"It is imperative that we not stop here - the system for harassment complaints in the House must be reformed in a way that does not deter and stifle victims of harassment from coming forward. Those who are found to have committed harassment in the workplace should not be protected from the consequences of their actions by the secrecy and payouts from the Office of Compliance. This has been secret and unknown not only to the public, but to Members of Congress as well."

PHOTO: CNN Newsource

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