I wrote earlier this week that serving in Congress requires showing moral leadership. That leadership requires speaking out publicly against Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore. It also requires acknowledging that the problem of corruption by powerful people runs much deeper than Moore, and wider than any party affiliation. Remarkably, at least $15 million of your taxpayer dollars have been used to settle claims of sexual harassment and discrimination against members of Congress since 1997. This slush fund must be dismantled immediately, because it encourages abuse and corruption.
This week two Democrats—Rep. John Conyers of Michigan and Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota—resigned from their positions, directly in response to brave women coming forward and sharing their stories of sexual harassment and abuse at the hands of Conyers and Franken. I am happy to see that at least some small amount of justice is being served.
There is no easy fix to stop sexual harassment, but it’s not something that we should tolerate from our public officials. That’s why it’s so shocking that Congress has used a taxpayer-funded slush fund, the “Settlement and Awards Fund,” to buy silence from victims of sexual misconduct and other forms of discrimination. Though we know that Congress has had to give millions of dollars of your taxpayer money to victims, it is not required to make any of these payments or cases of harassment or discrimination public. This means the harasser can rest easy knowing that he will face few—or perhaps no—consequences for his abuses. This is a shocking example of Congressmen not being held accountable, and it must be stopped. During this campaign, and as your representative, I will work to make sure that no voices are silenced, and that those who abuse their power will be the ones to pay the price.