John Conyers, a member of Congress who sexually harassed female employees, resigned from Congress this week.
That’s good and that’s fair.
Al Franken, whose non-congressional sexual harassment shenanigans have been well-documented in recent weeks, reportedly is resigning sometime today.
That’s good and fair, too.
Over the last 20 years, we’ve been told, Congress has settled 260 complaints of workplace discrimination at a cost to taxpayers of $15 million.
We need to place those figures in a little perspective.
First, there are forms of “workplace discrimination” that do not involve sexual harassment. Remember when “workplace discrimination” had an entirely different meaning?
So let’s not assume that all 260 complaints were for sexual harassment.
Second, it seems likely that at least some of those complaints were against congressional employees and not against members of Congress themselves. So again, let’s not assume that all 260 complaints are against members of Congress.
Third, it appears that at least some sexual harassment complaints against members of Congress were settled through payments to those harassed that came out of the budgets of the individual members of Congress who were the offending parties and are not part of the 260/$15 million.
And fourth, it appears that at least some complaints against members of Congress were settled when those members paid off the complainants out of their own pockets.
Still, despite all this, it seems almost certain that John Conyers was not the only member of Congress whose sexual predations cost taxpayers’ money.
And again, it’s right that Conyers is now an ex-member of Congress and can live out his life in disgrace.
What strikes The Curmudgeon as unfair is that the only cases in which members of Congress have been pushed toward the door so far are those that are known to the general public.
Since it’s our money, and since there are certainly other cases involving other members of Congress, isn’t it only fair that those payouts – tantamount to an admission of wrongdoing – be made public and all of the members of Congress, past and present, who were the offending parties receive the same treatment for which Conyers and Franken have been singled out?
Because if Conyers is gone and Franken is gone and the others survive only because Congress is keeping their names secret, isn’t that both seriously wrong and unfair to taxpayers and the women (or men) whom those members of Congress abused?