Democrat Rep. Jackie Speier of California revealed on Nov. 14 that American taxpayers have paid out $15 million to victims of sexual abuse perpetrated by House members.
Speier told MSNBC that under the current law, the sexual abusers are represented by the House lawyer while victims have to sign a non-disclosure agreement and do not have a lawyer:
We really need to reform the entire Office of Compliance process. Right now it takes about 90 days for you to file a complaint, and before actually going through the mediation, you have to sign a non-disclosure agreement and then you are not represented by counsel, but the harasser is represented by the House of Representatives general counsel…
I think moving forward we have got to take steps to make sure that there is transparency, that in fact the harasser is not going to have the settlement paid for out of the U.S. Treasury, and have all of the taxpayers paying for it. It should be something that is paid for by the individual.
MSNNBC host Chuck Todd asked Speier if taxpayers have a right to know whose criminal actions they are paying for, and Speier said under the current law they do not have that right:
I think you do have the right to know. But right now, under the system, you don’t have a right to know… We do know there is about $15 million that has been paid out by the House on behalf of harassers in the last ten to 15 years.