$300K to settle sex claims against Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly $300,000 in taxpayer funds has been spent to settle 13 claims against members of Congress or their offices since 2003 that include sexual harassment or sex discrimination, according to statistics released by a House committee on Friday.

The Committee on House Administration released a list of settlements stemming from claims against member offices between 2003 and 2007 that include three cases involving sex discrimination that total more than $27,000.

The new statistics add to a running list of settlements released last month to the committee by the Office of Compliance, an office created under the 1995 Congressional Accountability Act to deal with employment disputes on Capitol Hill. The office oversees the process of filing sexual harassment or discrimination complaints.

The statistics, released as part of a committee investigation into the process of filing complaints on the Hill, do not include any identifying information aside from settlement amounts and the basis for the claim; no names are provided.

Office of Compliance Executive Director Susan Tsui Grundmann said in a letter to the committee that the office only keeps track of settlements paid out of the Treasury account.