It was perhaps only a matter of time before revelations emerged that disgraced former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, groped women while serving as a Congressman.
On MSNBC this week, Congresswoman Diana DeGette said while they were colleagues, Filner tried to pin her to the elevator and kiss her.
DeGette recalled the encounter, “Some years ago, I was in an elevator and then-Congressman Bob Filner tried to pin me to the door of the elevator and kiss me and I pushed him away.”
Filner resigned as mayor of San Diego in 2013 following similar accusations of sexual harassment. Degette noted, “Of course, some years later he left Congress (and) became mayor of San Diego and then he had to leave that position for harassing younger women.”
CONGRESS’ “SHUSH” FUND
It was revealed last week that members of Congress and their staffs accused of sexual harassment can pay off their accusers from a secret “shush” fund with taxpayer dollars?
Since 1995, it turns out.
The adage that Congress holds itself above the law seems apropos here. The “shush fund” of Congress is managed by the Office of Compliance, which was created following the 1995 enactment of the Congressional Accountability Act (CAA). The CAA was a serious attempt to bring Congress under labor laws from which it had previously exempted itself.
‘ME TOO’ BILL WOULD CHANGE THIS
Aiming to change the culture, a group of House and Senate lawmakers have created legislation to overhaul the system for filing and settling harassment claims in Congress.
Representative Jackie Speier of California is one of the women leading the charge. On social media Speier noted, “Zero tolerance is meaningless unless it is backed up with enforcement and accountability.”
The ‘ME TOO’ Act is named after the #MeToo social media awareness campaign for victims of sexual harassment and assault.
The legislation is also in coordination with the House and Senate to mandate previously optional sexual harassment training for all lawmakers and Capitol Hill employees.