WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) co-sponsored the Victims’ Voice and Transparency Act, which would allow victims of sexual misconduct on Capitol Hill to release the names of the accused and the settlement payment amounts, if they so choose.
Currently, victims are required to sign a nondisclosure agreement as part of the settlement process through the Office of Compliance. This legislation would remove this requirement, giving the victim the option to speak.
“Victims of sexual misconduct deserve a voice and the American people deserve the utmost level of transparency” Stewart said. “I have been disheartened to see the frequency of sexual harassment and assault incidents in the news. This culture of silence is unacceptable. We must continue shedding light on this issue so victims can be heard.”
Stewart’s introduced the bill Nov. 30 with Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Oregon).
“I’m proud to introduce bipartisan legislation that will lift the secrecy surrounding taxpayer-funded sexual harassment settlements, and give victims the right to talk about their experiences publicly,” Bonamici said. “The current requirement that victims enter into nondisclosure agreements creates a dangerous culture of secrecy and silence. Victims should not be required to sign away their rights in exchange for justice. The American people deserve a transparent government and they should know about the actions of their elected representatives.”
The Office of Compliance oversees the House of Representatives, the Senate, Capitol Police, the Congressional Budget Office, the Office of the Architect of the Capitol, the Office of the Attending Physician, the Office of the Congressional Accessibility Services, and also includes employees working in district or state offices as well as those in Washington, D.C.
For a PDF copy of the bill, click here.