Secret settlement from hush fund revealed
U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva, an Arizona Democrat representing Congressional District 3 has found himself in the spotlight for more than his radical leftist views.
According to The Washington Times, Grijalva is revealed to have settled a $48,395 “severance package” in 2015 with one of his top staffers who threatened a lawsuit claiming the Arizona Democrat was frequently drunk and created a hostile workplace environment.
The report details that while the Office of Compliance has been the focus of outrage on Capitol Hill for hush-money payouts in sexual harassment cases, the Grijalva payout points to another office that lawmakers can use to sweep accusations under the rug with taxpayer-funded settlements negotiated by the House Employment Counsel, which acts as the attorney for all House offices.
The employment counsel negotiated a deal for taxpayers to provide nearly $50,000— five additional months’ salary — to the female aide, who left her job after three months. She didn’t pursue the hostile workplace complaint further.
This arrangement appears to run counter to House rules that restrict severance packages, and it caught the eye of watchdogs who were already demanding answers about payouts in the wake of rampant sexual harassment complaints.
Victims are required to sign a confidentiality agreement before the matter can be resolved, which is why this payout was so easily swept under the rug.
Over the past 20 years Congress’ Office of Compliance has paid out $17.2 million to settle 264 complaints of sexual harassment and other workplace violations on Capitol Hill, The Washington Post reported. The funds used for the settlements and awards come from a special Treasury Department account established in 1995 for such payments — in other words out of our tax dollars.