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COA FOIA requests Treasury disclose ‘secret payments’ for congressional sexual harassment settlements

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 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.

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“Unfortunately, many questions remain concerning how and under what authority these settlement payments have been made,” said Vecchione.

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“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

He Found His Spine: Vulnerable Senator Cory Gardner Vows to Support Trump’s SCOTUS Nominee

Gardner found his backbone.

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Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) has often been at odds with the Trump movement, being a favorite of the GOP establishment’s Senate Leadership Fund.

This is why his recent declaration that he will be supporting President Donald Trump’s choice to succeed the deceased Ruth Bader Ginsburg is so surprising. He made the announcement in a Twitter post on Monday.

“When a President exercises constitutional authority to nominate a judge for the Supreme Court vacancy, the Senate must decide how to best fulfill its constitutional duty of advice and consent,” Gardner said in his official statement.

“I have and will continue to support judicial nominees who will protect the Constitution, not legislate from the bench, and uphold the law. Should a qualified nominee who meets this criteria be put forward, I will vote to confirm,” he added.

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The official statement can be seen here:

The president’s pick for the Supreme Court will certainly fit Gardner’s criteria. Trump has announced that he will be appointing a woman to the bench.

One top contender – Amy Comey Barrett – recently made a trip to the White House, as Big League Politics has reported:

Judge Amy Coney Barrett visited the White House on Monday, as President Donald Trump zeroes in on selecting a nominee to fill the vacant seat on the US Supreme Court.

Barrett is reportedly a front-runner for the judicial nomination. She’s a generally conservative judge, with a staunch pro-life record. Her track record on immigration law issues is generally conservative.

Barrett currently serves as a circuit judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has advised President Trump that she is his preferred candidate for the seat on the court.

President Trump had confirmed that he plans to nominate a woman to fill the seat of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who died of complications from pancreatic cancer on Friday.

Democrats have launched a full-fledged fit urging President Trump to give them a break and decline to nominate a conservative justice, but they won’t be so lucky. Republican Senators and President Trump have rallied around the notion of appointing a justice before the November election, fulfilling their constitutional responsibilities.

Trump confirmed that he would be revealing the identity of his judicial nominee on Friday or Saturday, taking a few extra days to vet candidates. Florida Judge Barbara Lagoa is reportedly another candidate being considered for the nomination.

It’ll be inherently harder for incensed, power-thirsty Democrats to attack a female judicial candidate. Maybe they’ll alienate swing female voters through waging a scorched earth campaign to block the confirmation of Barrett, who is a mother of seven.

The Republicans have a great opportunity to score a major political victory and really stick it to the extreme Left with this expedited SCOTUS confirmation. The fact that a moderate like Gardner is on board is a great sign that the confirmation is likely to occur before November’s election.

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