A Washington-based government watchdog group filed a Freedom Of Information Act request Monday with the Treasury Department requesting the records of the secret payments in taxpayer dollars to congressional employees to settle sexual harassment suits of other congressional employees over the last two decades.
Powerful testimony, admissions by the Congress’ Office of Compliance, and numerous brave women speaking out have brought to light sexual harassment and discrimination in Congress,” said John J. Vecchione, president of The Cause of Action Institute.
The existence of settlement payments has been publicly confirmed by the congressional Office of Compliance, which stated that the funds for the payments come from an account operated by the Treasury Department, he said.
“Unfortunately, many questions remain concerning how and under what authority these settlement payments have been made,” said Vecchione.
“If taxpayers are footing the bill to settle complaints of misconduct, the American public should know about it,” he said.
CoA Institute’s FOIA request seeks all records and communications relating to taxpayer funds used to settle complaints of misconduct against members of Congress and their staffs, he said. It requests all records, including financial records, relating to settlement payments made over the past 20 years for any allegation of misconduct, including sexual harassment, racial and religious discrimination, and discrimination against people with disabilities.
Vecchione told Big League Politics that he wonders if this case is an example of Congress insulating themselves from the laws they have passed.
The COA Institute requested records from the Department of Treasury because it is the agency that makes the payments, he said.
“That is what we call hunting where the ducks are,” he said.
“By and large FOIA doesn’t apply to congressional documents but it does apply to the Treasury Department,” he said. “There is extreme public interest right now from the public who want to know how these cases are adjudicated within Congress.”
“We want to know how much was paid, who was paid and for what”, he said.
“No one on Capitol Hill has told me anything, but I suspect there are other FIOA requests filed.”
Congress Uses Fake Russia-Taliban Report as Excuse to Keep U.S. Troops in Afghanistan
Another victory for the war party.
Democrats are seizing upon a fake news report alleging that Russia has funded Taliban mercenaries to kill U.S. soldiers in order to make it more difficult for troops to be pulled from Afghanistan, thus undermining President Trump’s foreign policy agenda.
The House Armed Services Committee voted on Wednesday to make it more difficult for Trump to pull troops out of Afghanistan. It would force several certifications to be met before Trump could bring troops home. Republicans in the committee joined the Democrats to undermine Trump with the approval of this National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) amendment.
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), the neoconservative who supports Bush-era globalism, said the measure “lays out, in a very responsible level of specificity, what is going to be required if we are going to in fact make decisions about troop levels based on conditions on the ground and based on what’s required for our own security, not based on political timelines.” It was approved by a 45-11 vote.
The amendment requires an assessment to determine whether or not “state actors have provided any incentives to the Taliban, their affiliates, or other foreign terrorist organizations for attacks against United States, coalition, or Afghan security forces or civilians in Afghanistan in the last two years, including the details of any attacks believed to have been connected with such incentives” before troops can be removed from the country.
Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) bragged about how the measure will make sure the U.S. does not leave the region and more American lives are put in jeopardy for a war effort that is largely recognized to be a lost cause.
“There’s been bipartisan criticism of what a weak deal [Trump] got with the Taliban, a deal that is already falling apart,” Moulton said. “Now we learned that he was making this deal at the same time as there were bounties on the heads of American troops, American sons and daughters. We clearly need more oversight over what the president is doing in Afghanistan.”
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who is the most eloquent voice for an “America First” foreign policy in the House, opposed the measure because of its obvious implications against peace.
“A great nation does not force the next generation to fight their wars, and that’s what we’ve done in Afghanistan,” Gaetz said. “I think the best day to have not had the war in Afghanistan was when we started it, and the next best day is tomorrow.
“I don’t think there’s ever a bad day to end the war in Afghanistan,” he added. “Our generation is weary of this and tired of this.”
The defense industry is pushing the Russia bogeyman yet again, in order to create xenophobic outrage and a pretense to keep troops occupying in the region. The Pentagon has reported that Russia is trying to expedite the removal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, but they are painting this news as if it is a bad thing.
“As of February, the Russian government was working with the central government, regional countries, and the Taliban to gain increased influence in Afghanistan, expedite a U.S. military withdrawal, and address security challenges that might arise from a withdrawal,” a report from the Pentagon said.
“Russia has politically supported the Taliban to cultivate influence with the group, limit the Western military presence, and encourage counter ISIS operations, although Russia publicly denies their involvement,” they added.
The political establishment, including the military-industrial complex, is pulling out all the stops to sabotage President Trump and deprive him of achieving his goals before November’s election.
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