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Sinema Legislation to Hold Washington Accountable for Sexual Harassment and Assault Passes U.S. House

Sinema: “Americans’ tax dollars shouldn’t be used to cover up bad behavior”

Sinema co-sponsored bill increases transparency, streamlines reporting process

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, legislation cosponsored by Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09) to hold Members of Congress personally responsible for sexual misconduct passed the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill reforms the Congressional Accountability Act in the wake of numerous reports that members of Congress used taxpayer money to settle sexual harassment claims.

“Sexual harassment and sexual assault are always wrong,” said Congresswoman Sinema. “Arizonans’ tax dollars shouldn't be used to cover up bad behavior. Today, we worked across the aisle to hold members of Congress personally accountable for any sexual harassment settlement, increase transparency, and streamline the harassment reporting process.”

Among other provisions, the legislation:

  • Requires members of Congress to repay the Treasury for any taxpayer money spent on sexual misconduct settlements within 90 days;
  • Ensures members of Congress who leave office will still be held responsible for repaying the Treasury for any taxpayer money spent on sexual misconduct settlements;
  • Protects employees by providing immediate access to a dedicated advocate who can provide legal counsel and services; and
  • Eliminates mandatory counseling and mediation, which allows an employee to proceed to an investigation or to file in federal court.