sexual-harassment

IG Report: Some members of Congress sexually harassed night-shift custodians
Architect of the Capitol officials accused of creating ‘culture of permissibility’

An Architect of the Capitol worker paints the wall at the top of the escalator to the Senate subway in the Capitol in November 2015. A recent report alleges a sexual harassment ‘culture of permissibility’ in the AOC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Members of Congress allegedly sexually harassed night shift custodial staff while they cleaned their offices. Sexual harassment prevention training went off the rails. And the Architect of the Capitol has no unified system for effectively tracking complaints and resolutions of sexual harassment cases.

These are just some of the findings in a recent inspector general’s report on sexual harassment within the AOC in the last decade.

The Senate lacks protections for LGBTQ staff. One group is demanding change
Existing laws for legislative branch workers don’t explicitly protect LGBTQ employees

A Senate staffer group is urging offices to adopt policy manuals that include protections for LGBTQ employees from discrimination. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As Congress considers expanding civil rights to encompass LGBTQ Americans, Senate staffers want their bosses to shore up such protections for the congressional workforce itself. 

In a letter sent April 8, the bipartisan Senate GLASS Caucus urged chamber offices to adopt policy manuals that include protections for LGBTQ employees from discrimination.

Trickle-down equality: More women in Congress means less sexism for staffers
Staffers say they benefit when female lawmakers call out casual sexism on the Hill

Rep. Katie Hill, D-Calif., recently called out a male colleague on the House floor for making a sexually suggestive remark. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Women in Congress have been getting attention recently for calling out casual sexism on the Hill — and female staffers say it’s making their jobs easier.

California Rep. Katie Hill told a male colleague she didn’t appreciate his sexual innuendo on the House floor. Pennsylvania Rep. Susan Wild tweeted that a different male lawmaker had tried to “mansplain” her own bill to her. And CNN reported on female lawmakers who had been greeted “Hey, beautiful” by male members of Congress, looked “up and down” by men in the hallways on Capitol Hill, or mistaken for staff members or spouses. 

House Democrats launch push on VAWA expansion
The effort does more than extend the law — it adds a contentious gun control provision

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., pictured talking to Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., at a rally April 2, wants to pass an expanded version of the Violence Against Women Act rather than extend current law. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats take their first step this week to expand the Violence Against Women Act in an effort to prompt the Senate to do more than simply extend the lapsed domestic violence law — and they've included a contentious gun control provision.

The House is expected to pass the bill to reauthorize the 1994 law and add language to expand housing protections for victims, give more help to Native American women and enhance law enforcement tools through grants.

‘A victory for the women that Ruben harassed’: Former Rep. Kihuen falls five votes short in comeback
No Means No Ruben PAC claims victory as former congressman’s Las Vegas City Council bid fails

Ruben Kihuen, right, a former Nevada congressman, lost his campaign for Las Vegas City Council Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Ruben Kihuen, the former Nevada congressman whose single term in office was clouded by a sexual harassment investigation, lost his bid for Las Vegas City Council by five votes on Tuesday.

Kihuen placed third in a field of seven candidates, failing to qualify for the runoff election. Kihuen garnered 861 votes, just a few shy of second-place finisher and neighborhood activist Melissa Clary, who received 866 votes, the Las Vegas Sun reported. Former state Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz came out on top with 1,016 votes.

New Democratic firm aims to fill HR gap for campaigns
Bright Compass will educate and train campaigns on policies to combat harassment and discrimination

A new Democratic firm is looking to assist political campaigns with human resources policies. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When Dallas Thompson signed on as Hillary Clinton’s director of operations in North Carolina in 2016, she quickly recognized that she had a lot to learn about human resources.

Thompson, who had previously worked as a fundraiser, discovered campaigns needed a more sustained human resources infrastructure, including training and services. 

Capitol Hill workplace watchdog issues repeat recommendations to Congress
New OCWR report urges Hill to join the rest of the country

The Office of Congressional Workplace Rights has some (not quite) new recommendations to improve the Capitol Hill workplace. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Last year’s overhaul of the workplace complaint reporting and resolution system on Capitol Hill addressed many recommendations from the Office of Congressional Workplace Rights.

But the watchdog group is not done yet. Its latest report sent to House and Senate leaders earlier this month suggests further changes to apply federal workplace standards to the legislative branch.

Congress pressures immigration officials on sexual abuse allegations involving minors in custody
Senior officials at DHHS have taken offense at the use of the word ‘staff’ to describe predators

Cmdr. Jonathan D. White, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, third from left, took offense at Rep. Ted Deutch’s description of employees who preyed on children in U.S. custody as "HHS staff." (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

UPDATE, 2 p.m.:  In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for HHS said officials have been “briefing Members on both sides of the aisle, in both the House of Representatives and Senate, on the allegations of sexual abuse and inappropriate sexual behavior.” The spokesperson did not name the lawmakers the agency met with.“HHS ... has communicated to Congressman Deutch that we will be happy to meet with him, once he corrects the hearing record from last week and provides an apology to the dedicated men and women working tirelessly to protect and improve the lives of unaccompanied alien children in our care,” she said.

Trump administration officials overseeing the sheltering of migrant children have refused to meet with some members of Congress about recent allegations that adult employees preyed on children in their custody.

House eyes Violence Against Women Act reauthorization and expansion
VAWA extension was not included in last month’s spending package

California Rep. Katie Porter spoke of her experiences with law enforcement as a survivor of domestic abuse during an event to mark the introduction of the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Violence Against Women Act is back on the House agenda, with Democrats and at least one Republican leading a fresh effort to reauthorize and expand the domestic violence law.

A bill introduced Thursday would include updates to the landmark legislation, which was first enacted in 1994. The proposal is sponsored by California Democrat Karen Bass and Pennsylvania Republican Brian Fitzpatrick, a former FBI agent.

Disgraced Rep. Ruben Kihuen tries to alter his sexual harassment record
Nevada Democrat is running for Las Vegas city council after leaving House amid sexual misconduct allegations

Former Rep. Ruben Kihuen, D-Nev., has downplayed allegations of sexual harassment against him. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The way former Rep. Ruben Kihuen describes it now, he was run out of Congress for engaging in playful, flirtatious banter with women who worked for him and with him.

But that’s not what the House Ethics Committee found after a monthslong probe into allegations of sexual harassment against him by three women.