Office of Compliance Releases Settlement Money Details

Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., head the House Administration Committee, which released information about its settlement payouts on Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Office of Compliance’s Awards and Settlement Fund has paid out $359,450 since fiscal 2013 to address six claims made against House-member led offices, $84,000 of which was for a sexual harassment claim, according to data released Friday by the House Administration Committee.

The OOC did not name any parties in the settlements, but Politico reported the $84,000 sexual harassment settlement was for a claim against Texas GOP Rep. Blake Farenthold.

“There is no place for sexual harassment in our society, and especially in Congress, and one case of sexual harassment is one case too many,” House Administration Chairman Gregg Harper, R-Miss., said in a statement about the release of the OOC data.

The data does not include settlements paid out of members’ official office budgets, as was the case with $27,000 in wages Michigan Democrat John Conyers Jr. paid to settle a wrongful dismissal complaint from a female employee who claimed Conyers fired her for rejecting his sexual advances.

Marion Brown on Thursday revealed herself to be the former employee who received the settlement in a Today Show interview in which she alleged Conyers violated her body by inappropriately touching her and frequently propositioning her for sex.

The settlements paid through the OOC’s Awards and Settlement Fund since fiscal 2013 were primarily for discrimination-related claims. The highest award was $150,000 for a claim alleging veteran status discrimination and retaliation.

The other four awards included $76,000 for an age discrimination claim, $37,250 for a disability discrimination and retaliation claim, $7,000 for a sex and religion discrimination and retaliation claim and $5,200 for a race, national origin and military service discrimination and retaliation claim.

The OOC is working on providing the Administration Committee with information on settlements made prior to fiscal 2013.

“I thank the OOC for this preliminary data and we look forward to receiving the entire breakdown as soon as possible as our Committee reviews the entire process – from training, to House policy, to the reporting and settlement process,” Harper said.

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