Congressman Thomas J. Rooney

Representing the 17th District of Florida

Rooney and DeSantis Work to End Taxpayer-Funded Cover Up of Sexual Harassment

Nov 30, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Tom Rooney was an original cosponsor of the Congressional Accountability and Hush Fund Elimination Act led by Congressman Ron DeSantis (FL-6). This bill would increase transparency regarding sexual harassment settlements in Congress and prohibit taxpayer dollars from being used to pay future settlements.

“Sexual assault and harassment should not be tolerated. Period,” said Congressman Tom Rooney. “It is morally reprehensible for any Member of Congress to use taxpayer dollars to cover up their abuses. Members of Congress using taxpayer dollars as hush-money disrespects the constituents they serve and the institution of Congress itself. I was proud to join my friend and Florida colleague, Ron DeSantis, as an original cosponsor of this bill. I pledge that we will make sure this practice does not continue.”

The Congressional Accountability and Hush Fund Elimination Act would:

  • Require disclosure within 30 calendar days of all settlement payments funded by taxpayers, the reason for the payment and the nature of the allegation, and the member of Congress or congressional staffer implicated in the matter.
  • Prohibit the future use of taxpayer dollars to pay sexual harassment and sexual assault claims against members of Congress and staff.
  • Prohibit members of Congress from using office budgets to camouflage payments.
  • Require members of Congress and staff that have ever been named in a sexual harassment or sexual assault settlement paid for by taxpayers to reimburse the U.S. Treasury with interest.

Allow any individual who received an award to make public statements about the claims notwithstanding the terms of a nondisclosure agreement and nondisclosure agreements cannot be made a condition of any future settlements.