Democratic Congresswoman Alleges Two Sitting Lawmakers Have 'Engaged In Sexual Harassment'

Lawmakers Hold Hearing on Sexual Harassment in Congress

Brendan Hoffman Getty Images The Speaker's rostrum in the U.S. House of Representatives

House Democrat Jackie Speier, an advocate for an improved anti-harassment system in Congress, said she was aware of two sitting congressmen, a Republican and a Democrat, who "have engaged in sexual harassment". "At that point, he chose to expose himself", Comstock said.

On Nov. 3, former GOP Rep. Mary Bono of California disclosed that she had been sexually harassed by a male colleague in Congress for years before confronting him.

Speier did not name either of the lawmakers.

"Whether it's Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, Bill O'Reilly, Mark Halperin, Roger Ailes, Kevin Spacey or one of our own, it's time to say no more", Comstock said at the House Administration Committee hearing on Capitol Hill.

The lawmakers, Rep. Barbara Comstock and Rep. Jackie Speier, are advocating for reforming the House's sexual harassment policies.

To perpetrators exposing their genitals, to victims having their private parts grabbed on the House floor.

At the hearing, Speier talked of two members of Congress, one a Democrat and one a Republican, who "have been subject to review or have not been subject to review, but have engaged in sexual harassment". "All they ask in return is that we fix our abusive system and hold perpetrators accountable".

Over 50 lawmakers, congressional staffers and political operatives have disclosed that sexual harassment is rampant in the U.S. Congress.

"Many of us in Congress know what it's like, because Congress has been a breeding ground for a hostile work environment for far too long", she said in an October video encouraging other staffers to tell their stories.

Barbara Comstock relayed a story involving a young female staffer who was asked to deliver work materials to the residence of a male member of Congress.

On Tuesday, the committee also heard from House administration officials regarding existing procedures to deal with sexual harassment on Capitol Hill. And a young staffer ― it was a young woman ― went there and was greeted with a member in a towel. Kirsten Gillibrand recently announced legislation aimed at overhauling the current process staffers take to report sexual harassment. "There is zero accountability and transparency", she said.

The staffer subsequently quit, Comstock said.

Later this week, Speier will also introduce legislation to overhaul the process that victims of harassment undergo when they file complaints to the Office of Compliance, which she has called "toothless" and says is created to protect harassers and not the harassed.

The House hearing addressed the need to update the chamber's policies on misconduct claims, and bipartisan calls to implement mandatory sexual harassment training for both lawmakers and staff.

Last week, the Senate passed a measure requiring harassment training for senators and congressional aides.

Latest News