Iowa Congressman Rod Blum this afternoon said he is outraged to learn there have been secret settlements that resolved complaints about bad behavior in congressional offices.
“I had no idea that there was this settlement fund or ‘slush fund’ and I have no idea where that money comes from,” Blum said. ” I am absolutely shocked to hear this, but it comes back to the swamp. That’s why I’ve been an advocate of draining the swamp. We need to expose these types of things.”
The Washington Post has reported $17 million has been paid out over the past two decades to settle allegations of workplace misconduct in congress.
“I understand there’s two members of congress now that they settled sexual harassment charges on — with taxpayer money — that are still in congress,” Blum told Radio Iowa this afternoon. “I guess I’d like to know and the taxpayers would like to know: ‘Who are these people?’ And I think their names should be made public if the taxpayers are paying — and I don’t think the taxpayers should be paying.”
Blum, a Republican from Dubuque, plans to co-sponsor legislation to make it clear that when wrong-doing in the congressional workplace is admitted, federal funds won’t cover the legal settlement.
“No more of that,” Blum said. “If you sexually harass somebody, you should be paying yourself, not the United States taxpayers.”
The secret settlements that have been made to prevent disclosure of bad behavior in congressional offices is “a symptom of the swamp” and its culture of entitlement, according to Blum.
“That’s why I’ve supported term limits. I’ve supported ending the congressional pension program. I’ve supported a lifetime ban on lobbying. I’ve supported ending first-class air travel paid for by the taxpayers,” Blum told Radio Iowa in a telephone interview.
Blum is unaware of any previous anti-harassment training for congressional staff or House members either, but he said that training is now scheduled.