Blog — Ethics
Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) deserves kudos for recognizing that sexual misconduct isn’t a problem limited to the military and college campuses, it is also an issue in Congress. Last week, Rep. Speier offered an amendment to a House appropriations bill setting funding levels for Congress — the least contentious of the twelve appropriations bills — to increase funding to combat sexual harassment in the House of Representatives.
The House has suffered a string of workplace scandals, of which the most recent arose from a video of (married) Representative Vance McAllister (R-LA) kissing one of his staff. (She later quit her job and he announced he would not run again.) Rep. Speier asked her colleagues to increase funding for the Office of Compliance (OOC) by $500,000, or 12 percent, to allow the office to improve sexual harassment training and outreach.
The tiny Office of Compliance protects and trains the nearly 30,000 congressional employees on matters concerning civil rights, labor, and workplace safety laws. While the office does not have much real power to assist staff members who are harassed, training supervisors is one way to help reduce inappropriate behavior.
Sadly, fear of limiting future employment opportunities causes many staffers to suffer in silence. Even if a staff member does complain, punishment often falls to the lethargic Ethics Committee, which rarely stirs itself to action. CREW publishes an annual profile of the "most corrupt" members of Congress to educate Americans about the actions of their elected representatives.
While Rep. Speier's amendment will not solve the sexual harassment problem on Capitol Hill, it is a positive step in the right direction. While in the past some might have argued against such increased spending, in an election year in which women’s concerns figure prominently, the amendment was adopted unanimously. We applaud Rep. Speier for her efforts.
More Blog Posts
While this verdict clears up what happened on the state level, it leaves unresolved why the Department of Justice refused to prosecute Gov. Deal. Read More ›
April 9, 2014 | Congress, Corruption, Elections, Ethics, Office of Congressional Ethics, Federal Agencies, Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), FOIA, House, Most Corrupt, Republicans, States, Georgia, Worst Governors, Governors, Nathan Deal
Despite the public's concern and requirements enacted by Congress, the Department of Defense still can't keep track of where former Pentagon brass go after serving. Read More ›
April 8, 2014 | Corporate, Ethics, Conflict of Interests, Federal Agencies, Department of Defense, Department of the Air Force, Department of the Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, US Army, Lobbying, Transparency
Curiously enough, some central players in Rep. Rivera’s scandals are still on Sen. Rubio’s payroll. Read More ›
February 5, 2014 | Congress, Ethics, Federal Agencies, Federal Election Commission (FEC), Financial, Disclosure, House, Republicans, Senate, States, Florida, House Members, David Rivera, Political Candidates, Marco Rubio
The committee acted with unusual speed to dismiss our complaint against Sen. Mitch McConnell. Read More ›
January 3, 2014 | Congress, Democrats, Elections, Ethics, Senate Ethics Committee, Legal, Senate Ethics, Republicans, Senate, Senate Members, Bill Frist, Chris Dodd, David Vitter, Kent Conrad, Kit Bond, Mitch McConnell , Norm Coleman, Rick Santorum
On Wednesday, CREW filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice for records from the now-closed investigative file of Congressman Vern Buchanan. Read More ›
December 20, 2013 | Congress, Corruption, Ethics, Federal Agencies, Department of Justice, Federal Election Commission (FEC), FOIA, House, Legal, Lawsuits, Most Corrupt, Republicans, States, Florida, House Members, Vern Buchanan, CREW v. Department of Justice (Buchanan investigation)
Earlier this week, CREW helped Florida station WTSP turn the spotlight on other members of Congress using their campaign committees and PACs to pay family members. Read More ›
November 21, 2013 | Campaign Finance Reform, Congress, Elections, Ethics, Financial, Disclosure, House, News, CBS News, Republicans, States, Florida, Transparency, House Members, Dennis Ross, Vern Buchanan