Senate Paid Out $1.45 Million In Discrimination Settlements Since 1997, Data Shows


The Senate paid nearly $1.45 million in taxpayer-funded discrimination settlements over the last two decades, according to data released on Thursday obtained by several news outlets.

The Senate Rules and Appropriations Committees made publicly available two decades of data from the Congressional Office of Compliance (OOC) ― where lawmakers and staffers file workplace claims ― on the settlements from 1997 to 2017. The data details the amount paid from a Treasury Department fund for discrimination suits against Senator’s offices and non-member Senate offices.

The types of settlements included sex discrimination, race discrimination, age discrimination and disability discrimination.

None of the settlements listed in either data set included the names of parties involved in the cases, nor did it break down the settlements by year. 

The public data also did not distinguish between sexual discrimination and sexual harassment. 

“It is not clear that any of the Senate employer discrimination settlements are related to sexual harassment,” ABC News’ Ali Rogin reported. “They only list ‘sex discrimination’ because, for an unspecified amount of time, OOC did not separate out sexual harassment from other sex/gender-related issues.”

The 13 settlements involving Senator’s offices totaled $599,252.47 in taxpayer money, while the 10 settlements involving non-member Senate offices totaled $853,225, with one race discrimination cost of $421,225 making up nearly half of that sum. 

The release of the new Senate data comes after a similar but smaller data set from the House of Representatives was made public on Tuesday. OOC data showed that the House used $115,000 of taxpayer money to fund three settlements related to sexual harassment from 2008 to 2012.

The settlements came from a little-known Treasury Department fund that is used to settle workplace claims involving Capitol Hill lawmakers. The special fund has paid out more than $17 million for 264 settlements involving offices on Capitol Hill since 1995, according to The Washington Post.

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