A Congressman exposed himself to a female staffer after luring her to his home to deliver documents, according to testimony given at a House Administration Committee hearing Tuesday.
Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Virginia, told the story, which had been told to her by the staff member of how the Congressman answered the door wearing only a towel and then opened the towel.
The woman left and quit her job, Comstock said.
Rep. Jackie Speier, D-California, told the committee at least two members of Congress, a Republican and a Democrat, had sexually harassed women and one used taxpayer money to settle a complaint.
The testimony came during a hearing on the “Member and Employee Training and Oversight On Congress Act,” known as the “Me Too Act,” a reference to the social media hashtag started after accusations of serial sexual harassment by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.
Speier has been one of those who have shared a sexual harassment story, telling of her experience as a Congressional staffer when she was harassed by the Congressman’s chief of staff.
Speier told Chuck Todd of MSNBC’s MTP Daily that she could not reveal the names of the members of Congress she had talked about in the committee, citing the signing of non-disclosure pacts by the women who had been harassed.
While stories of Hollywood harassment have been featured in the media, the problem exists in all fields, including Congress, the committee was told.
Speier revealed on MTP Daily that taxpayers have paid $15 million over the past 20 years to quietly settle complaints against members, including sexual harassment and racial discrimination.
Records on which members of Congress have been aided by such payouts are not available, Speier said, adding that the offending Congressmen have not been required to pay back a cent to taxpayers.
The attention that has been given to the issue of sexual harassment, which has received considerable media attention because of the scandals involving such celebrities as Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and Bill O’Reilly, has helped turned Congress’ focus toward dealing with its own problem.
Last week, the U. S. Senate passed legislation requiring all senators and staff to undergo mandatory sexual harassment training.
On Tuesday, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, followed suit, announcing that all House members and staff would also be required to undergo training.
[Featured Image by Alex Brandon/AP Images]