One of the more ridiculous things our taxpayer dollars were used for is taking the financial burden off of politicians who were caught sexually harassing others, essentially making us foot the bill for the Washington elite’s inability to engage with others with common decency.
No longer, however, thanks to a bipartisan bill that unanimously made its way through the Congress and Senate and will shortly appear on President Donald Trump’s desk for signing.
“Time is finally up for members of Congress who think that they can sexually harass and get away with it. They will no longer be able to slink away with no one knowing that they have harassed. … They will pay back the U.S. Treasury,” the bill’s sponsor Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) said on Thursday according to Reuters.
Despite all the problems that have been generated by the #MeToo movement, this bill is definitely one of the positives. The taxpayer should never have been responsible for paying up for the misconduct of politicians in the first place, and it’s likely that politicians not having any financial responsibility for their actions contributed to the problem of sexual harassment on capitol hill, which Speier has described as a “huge problem.”
And the cost has been high. According to Emily Zanotti at the DailyWire, former Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) spent $84,000 of taxpayer money for his legal defenses over claims of sexual harassment by his own staff.
As I wrote in December of last year, the Treasury Department had paid out $17 million for this very issue since 1997. Last year, politicians nearly generated $1 million in costs to the taxpayer settling harassment claims. The record is 2007 when the Treasury had to pay $4.05 million in settlements over sexual harassment.
That’s millions of dollars we’ll never get back over politician’s personal issues.
As far as bipartisan bills go, this is definitely one Washington can truly be proud of, and it’s just another hand out of our personal wallets.